HOYLAKE, England — The green jacket gave Mike Weir a thrill he won’t forget.
The Masters champion wore his coveted prize onto the ice for a Stanley Cup playoff game in Toronto, with the Maple Leafs tapping their sticks and the crowd producing a cheer louder than any he heard at Augusta National. Canada loves its golf, and the green jacket is even more meaningful to a country that forgets spring exists until seeing the azaleas and dogwoods on TV each April.
The claret jug gave Padraig Harrington a moment that made him laugh.
The British Open champion had his coveted prize with him on a trip to San Francisco. Harrington got into a cab with a driver who loved the sport so much he was wearing a golf glove. The jug was in its steel case, which was leaking whiskey that had not been drained. The driver asked what was in the case, and Harrington jokingly told him it was a human organ. Only after the Irishman got out of the cab did he have his two friends tell the cabbie it was the claret jug.
The newest and the oldest of golf’s major championships offer two distinct prizes, both recognizable to any golf fan in any part of the world.
Which evokes greater emotion?
“I’d love to find out,” said Graeme McDowell, who to date can speak only for the U.S. Open trophy.
The claret jug is all about history.
Tom Kidd was the first British Open champion to be presented a claret jug in 1873. The original was swapped out by a replica starting in 1928, and that’s the 86-year-old trophy that Phil Mickelson had to return when he arrived at Hoylake on Monday.
“It was fun to see the faces of the people that have such respect and reverence for the game of golf and this championship, and what it means to be able to take a picture with it or drink a sip out of it,” Mickelson said.