Irons and wedges used by Tiger Woods during his historic 2000-2001 run sold for a record $US5.15 million ($A6.9 million), according to Golden Age Auctions—after the auction started at $US25,000. The new owner of the clubs is an American individual who edged out “a number of bidders” from across the United States, Europe and Asia.
The $5.15 million price tag is believed to be the highest-priced piece of golf memorabilia acquired at auction. Golden Age Auctions expected the clubs to go for about $1 million.
The set is so valuable because Woods became the only player ever to win four Majors in a row. Woods claimed the 2000 US Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship before winning the 2001 Masters for what was dubbed the ‘Tiger Slam’.
The set includes a 2-iron through pitching wedge of the Titleist 681-T, as well as a 58-degree bent to 56 degrees and a 60-degree Vokey wedge both stamped with ‘TIGER.’ Woods agent, Mark Steinberg, disputed the legitimacy of the set, but that didn’t stop them from shattering Golden Age’s previous record sale of $682,000 for Horton Smith’s green jacket from the inaugural 1934 Masters.
“These have now become one of the most valuable pieces of sports memorabilia, right behind a Babe Ruth game-used jersey that sold for $5.6 million in 2019. Golf collecting has been undervalued for years, but not anymore. And Tiger Woods is fast becoming his own collecting category, much like Michael Jordan or Tom Brady, his fellow GOATs.”
The previous owner of the clubs was Todd Brock, a Houston-area businessman who purchased the set for $57,242 in 2010 from Steve Mata. According to Golden Age, Mata was working as Titleist’s vice president of player promotions and acquired the clubs in 2001—after he and a colleague, Rick Nelson, delivered Woods a new Titleist prototype set during that year’s Buick Classic at Westchester Country Club. Woods wanted to put the new irons into play immediately, so Nelson took Woods’ existing irons to the tour van to check all of the specs and make sure the new set matched the existing ones. Woods then gifted the old set to Mata, who brought them home with him and hung on to them until selling to Brock.
The auction opened on March 23 and closed on Saturday of this year’s Masters, where Woods made his return to competition 14 months after sustaining traumatic injuries to his right leg in a single-car accident.