The 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale will forever be remembered for one momentous act of sportsmanship. And now you could own a slice of that historical day
It’s one of the most famous moments in Ryder Cup history – known simply as The Concession.
In 1969, with the match at Royal Birkdale on the line at the final green, Jack Nicklaus reached down and picked up Tony Jacklin’s ball marker.
This simple act – accompanied by the now famous phrase: “I don’t think you would have missed it, but I wasn’t going to give you the chance” – conceded the short putt, halved the match, and ensured a 16-16 tie between Great Britain & Ireland and the USA.
The gesture reportedly enraged American captain Sam Snead, but its sportsmanship has gone down in golfing folklore. Books have been written, numerous TV pieces filmed, and it’s even the inspiration for a golf course.
Now the object of that historic moment could be yours. The marker that Nicklaus collected and returned to Jacklin is up for grabs at an online auction.
Golden Age Golf Auctions say the gold-coloured Sterling Silver marker was a gift from Jacklin’s then wife after his victory in the 1969 Open Championship.
It’s engraved with Jacklin’s initial, a T, and has a detailed letter of authenticity from the man who led Europe to Ryder Cup victories in 1985 and 1987.
The auction, taking place on Golden Age Golf Auction’s website, is set to finish on April 10. At present, the top bid stands at $6,050.
Golden Age Golf Auctions’ Ryan Carey said this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grab a “piece of history”.
“This ball marker is definitely one of those really special pieces for me, personally, because it’s not something that most people realise could even be attainable,” he explained.
“No collector was out there thinking that one day they were going to own the ball marker that Jack picked up to concede the ’69 Ryder Cup. Then it shows up for auction, and it just creates this buzz where everybody wants to read about it, everyone wants to watch the clip again, and so it’s a really special piece from that standpoint.”
Asked about the difficulties in putting a value on something that rare, Carey added: “There are no real comps as we call them in the industry. That’s why this makes for a perfect auction piece, because this is actually a unique item.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. If a bidder is interested in this, or a museum, or an institution, this is their only chance of owning it, so that always makes for an interesting auction.”
It’s a pretty penny but collectors with a bit more to spend may also be interested in another hugely significant golfing artefact that’s on the market.
A putter purportedly used by Young Tom Morris around the time he was amassing his four Open victories is also being auctioned.
With bids currently standing at more than $36,000 at The Golf Auction, you’ll need deep pockets to own the T.Morris stamped club. This auction ends on April 11.
What’s the best piece of golfing memorabilia that you own? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.
Photograph courtesy of Golden Age Golf Auctions