The driver Arnold Palmer used for a landmark victory at the British Open in 1961 is going on the auction block.
According to the auction listing,
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 played in the 1960 Open, finishing second but at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Palmer beat Wales’ Dai Reese by one shot. He’d win the Claret Jug again in 1962.
The club is a Walter Hagen model and comes with a 1996 letter of authenticity on Palmer’s letterhead, indicating he’d given the club away in 1968.
The ’61 Open championship was the fourth of Palmer’s seven major titles and since the club remained in his possession for the next seven years, it’s possible it also saw duty in other tournaments including those last three majors.