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    Description

    The primary tool of The King's first British Open Championship!

    1961 Arnold Palmer British Open-Winning Driver with Palmer Letter. Palmer's passing in late September of last year closed the book on one of the greatest stories in the long and vibrant history of American sport, a tale that followed the son of a Depression-era golf course groundskeeper to the highest peaks of athletic achievement. Much like Babe Ruth before him, Palmer was as beloved for his great humanity and humility as he was for his elite skills in his chosen field of endeavor. While his nickname "The King" had been well-earned in competition, Palmer remained until the end a man of the people and an essential figure in the popularization of golf.

    This historic relic, arguably the most significant Palmer item ever to tempt an auction bidding audience, speaks to the legendary linksman's influence more loudly than just about any other. Palmer is widely credited for bringing relevance to the Open Championship within the American golf community. The difficult transatlantic crossing, the small purses and the unfamiliar course layouts had made the tournament unpopular within the American golf community, leading the vast majority of top players to skip the event. Though Bobby Jones had enjoyed heroic turns on the greens and fairways of the United Kingdom in the late 1920's, Palmer was the sole American contender at the 1961 edition, and his victory would be the first for the former colony since Ben Hogan in 1953. European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley has characterized Palmer's participation in The Open Championship in the early 1960's as"the catalyst to truly internationalize golf."

    Palmer had won the hearts of the British golf spectatorship with his gutsy play in his first Open Championship in 1960 but came up just a stroke short of the winning pace. But he would improve upon that runner-up finish the following year, at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England, besting Wales' Dai Reese by a single stroke to claim his first of two consecutive Claret Jugs with a four-under 284. It would be Palmer's fourth of seven major titles.

    This is the tool responsible for the bulk of the yardage covered by Palmer to carry him to his first taste of international glory, a Walter Hagen-endorsed persimmon one wood with "AP 1961" stamping on the base. Palmer tells the tale in a 1996 signed letter of provenance that is included in the lot:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    This will certify that Mr. Robert D. Robinson had a Walter Hagen driver built for me in the winter of 1961 and I subsequently used it when I won the British Open Championship later that year. I gave that driver to Bob Robinson in 1968. It has a registration number of "AP1961" stamped on its sole.

    Sincerely,

    Arnold Palmer

    The club exhibits fine use, suggestive of a long and fruitful partnership with its master well beyond the Open. Considering the fact that Palmer attests to retaining the club until 1968, participation in the final three major victories of his career (1962 Masters, 1962 British Open, 1964 Masters) is a possibility. Unquestionably the finest Palmer item to appear on the hobby's auction block since Heritage sold his 1958 Masters worn shoes for $66,000 in February of this year. Letter of provenance from Arnold Palmer. Pre-Certified by PSA/DNA (for letter of provenance). . Auction LOA from SGC Authentic (for letter of provenance).





    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2017
    19th-20th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,186

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