Not long after Tiger Woods was consumed by much bigger problems, a set of irons he’d given away wound up on eBay. Advertised as one of the sets he used while winning the “Tiger Slam” in 2000 and 2001, the opening bid was $250,000.
“He may have my set of irons, but they’re not from those tournaments,” Woods told reporters last spring. “They’re in my garage.”
eBay took the listing down but now, the clubs are back up for bid, this time through Green Jacket Auctions of New Jersey.
The story behind what may be the most significant piece of modern golf memorabilia took yet another turn on Monday, when Green Jacket announced that it will be offering the clubs on its website to the highest bidder.
The announcement comes after months of speculation as to what would become of the infamous set of irons. The set is owned by Steve Mata, the former Titleist tour rep who worked closely with Woods and other players during those months between2000 and 2001.
The auction set off a bit of a war of words between Mata and his old friend during which Tiger questioned the authenticity of the clubs. Mata then enlisted the services of GreenJacketAuctions.com to help authenticate the clubs he says Tiger gave to him at a tournament in 2001.
Woods began playing Nike equipment in October of 2004.
Green Jacket says Mata recently passed a polygraph test establishing that his golf clubs were, in fact, used by Tiger Woods during the so-called Tiger Slam. The auction company also verified the “specs” of these clubs with those reportedly used by Woods during the third leg of the Tiger Slam, the 2000 PGA Championship. Green Jacket says the clubs matched – right down to a 58 degree Titelist Vokey 258-08 wedge that was bent to 56 degrees and re-stamped 56 degrees with a Dynamic Golf S-400 shaft and Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord Grip.
Mata, who has been looking for full-time work in the golf industry for nearly two years after parting ways with Titleist, says he needs the money.
The polygraph results are available for review to any and all prospective bidders, and will be included with the winning bidder of the auction.
Starting bid on the clubs this time was $1,000 with a couple of bids already placed. Green Jacket is also offering several other Woods signed items, an actual Ryder Cup trophy and Doug Ford’s 1957 Masters jacket.
The auction runs through September 11.