A golf ball Tiger Woods gave to a young fan during the final round of his victorious 1997 Masters tournament has sold for $64,124, auction house Golden Age Auctions said on Sunday.
Woods bogeyed the fifth hole and handed the ball to Julian Nexsen, who was nine years old at the time. Bidding for the Titleist ball, which has “Tiger” stamped on it, began at $500 when Nexsen put it up for auction on March 27, the auction site said.
Woods, then 21, won the first of his 15 major titles in stunning fashion at the 1997 Masters with a record margin of 12 strokes and became the youngest golfer to triumph at Augusta National.
“Unless Tiger himself or his caddy Fluff intentionally saved a ball from this historic final round (which we doubt), this may be the only confirmed golf ball from the final round of Tiger Woods’ first major championship victory,” Golden Age Auctions said.
According to the auctioneers, “dozens of people” witnessed the moment Woods handed the ball to Nexsen. It also featured in the Washington Times newspaper the next day.
Nexsen has signed a legal declaration certifying the authenticity of the golf ball and the story of his final round interaction with Woods.
Woods, 47, withdrew from this year’s Masters due to injury before the resumption of the third round, saying he had reaggravated a tissue inflammation that causes pain in the heel.
In November last year a signed Woods ball sold for a record $186,000, Heritage Auctions said. Woods hit a hole-in-one with the ball on his professional tournament debut in 1996.
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