Top 5 Ryder Cup collectibles ever sold

It's no surprise that one of the fiercest sporting rivalries should produce fiercely contested memorabilia. Ahead of the opening shot at Gleneagles on Friday, here's five of the finest pieces of Ryder Cup memorabilia ever sold.

Sam Snead's 1959 Ryder Cup trophy - $179,250

Sam Snead Ryder Cup trophy
Slammin Sammy was always on the winning side - image: Heritage Auctions

American Sam Snead holds the record for most PGA Tour victories at 82, three ahead of the slowly approaching Tiger Woods. Slammin Sammy, known for his beautiful swing and penchant for straw hats, played in seven Ryder Cups, and was on the winning team on all occasions. His last was 1959, when he was also captain - the US beating Great Britain by 8½ points to 3½ at the Eldorado Country Club in California. The trophy awarded to Snead as captain of the winning team auctioned for $179,250 in 2013. 

Samuel Ryder's putter - £18,000 ($29,325)

Samuel Ryder putter
The man who created the Ryder Cup only took up the game in his 50s - image: Bonhams

The competition's founder, Samuel Ryder (1858-1936), made his money selling garden seeds. He was also a single handicap golfer. In 1927, using money from his seed business, he established the first official golf competition between Great Britain and the US, at the Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts. The US won comfortably. Englishman Ryder only took up the game in his 50s following a spell of ill health - a friend suggesting it would help him get more fresh air. Ryder's circa 1910s Robert Forgan mallet-shaped putter made £18,000 ($29,325) in 2008. 

Walter Hagen's Ryder Cup-used golf bag - $21,510

Walter Hagen golf bag
Hagen captained the US in the first six contests - image: Heritage Auctions

In a time when amateur status within golf was still revered, American Hagen did much to increase the acceptance of professional players. The game's most successful early professional, Hagen's 11 major wins place him behind only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. The always immaculately dressed Hagen also had a superb Ryder Cup record, winning seven and losing just once in nine matches. He also captained the US team in all five contests he played, including in 1929 when they lost by two points in Yorkshire. The brown leather golf bag Hagen used in the contest, complete with his embossed name, US flag and "Ryder Cup Team" script, sold for $21,510 in 2011. 

Signed 1929 Ryder Cup dinner menu - £8,500 ($13,860)

1929 Ryder Cup menu
The players earned their supper in 1929 - snow on the greens had made play difficult - image: Tennants Auctioneers

The second instalment of the Ryder Cup, in 1929 at Moortown Golf Club in Leeds, England, was a cold affair. Played in April, snow on the greens was a problem and clearly suited the home side the better. Britain won seven to five. The players came in from the cold following the final day's play to celebrate and commiserate at the official dinner. A menu signed by both teams, and Samuel Ryder, auctioned for £8,500 ($13,860) in 2010. 

Tony Jacklin's 1987 peach shirt - £380 ($620)

Tony Jacklin 1987 shirt
This shirt is far from the Ryder Cup's worst sartorial offender - image: Graham Budd Auctions

The Ryder Cup steadfastly brings out the worst in men's fashion. 1987 was no different. European team captain Tony Jacklin - a man synonymous with the Ryder Cup - wore this peach number in 1987 at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Ohio. It sold for £380 ($620) in 2006. Jacklin was in six losing teams as a player, tying once, but had more success as a captain. He led the European team to its first win in 28 years in 1985, and repeated the feat, peach shirt and all, two years later.

Paul Fraser, founder of Paul Fraser Collectibles, comments: "Values for leading golf collectibles such as Ryder Cup memorabilia are relatively low at the moment compared with other sports. That's somewhat surprising considering it's the game of choice of wealthy businessmen the world over - the demographic that buys high-end memorabilia. A sector to watch closely over the coming years."

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