"Golf is a game whose aim is to hit a very small ball into an even smaller hole, with weapons singularly ill-designed for the purpose."
Winston Churchill's take on golf is perhaps the reason why collectibles associated with the game's greatest players are so sought after.
Many of us have had a bash at the local pitch and putt and indeed have discovered that getting the ball from tee to hole is a tricky proposition.
When great players display such mastery of the game, mastery that few of us could comprehend, it is little wonder that they become revered among sports fans and collectors.
This year's Open Championship begins on Thursday at Royal St Georges, in Sandwich, Kent. By Sunday evening, memorabilia associated with the winner could have risen dramatically in price, particularly if it's a player already popular with the fans.
For example, a win for Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy could propel the US Open champion to a new level of stardom. Or a first major victory for England's world number one Luke Donald could ensure his stock rises with alternative investors.
Collectibles associated with champions of the four majors on the calendar can command huge sums.
The green Augusta National jacket once owned by the great Bobby Jones, founder of the Masters Tournament, comes to auction at Heritage Auctions' August 4 sale with a $100,000 estimate.
Recent big sales include the auctioning of a gold putter once owned by Seve Ballesteros. The putter was bought for $90,000 by British golfer and keen collector Ian Poulter.
One man who won't be competing at Sandwich this week is Colin Montgomery.
After failing to qualify, the 2010 Ryder Cup captain has announced he is to place some of his most treasured golf items in a time capsule at the site of a new Scottish cancer centre, named after his mother, Elizabeth, who died of lung cancer in 1991.
When unearthed in years to come they will surely be of interest to collectors, such is Montgomery's standing in the game.
Those looking for a piece of the action may also be interested by the private markets, where several golf-related bargains are available.
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