At the 1969 Ryder Cup, American Jack Nicklaus memorably conceded a three-foot putt to Englishman Tony Jacklin, causing the match to be halved and resulting in the first tie in Ryder Cup history.
It is referred to as ‘The Concession’ and even led to the name of a golf course in Florida. And now the ultimate act of sportsmanship will be memorialized as a biennial Ryder Cup award.
On Tuesday in a joint statement, the PGA of America, Ryder Cup Europe and Aon announced the creation of the Nicklaus–Jacklin Award presented by Aon, which will be handed out for the first time to one player from each time at the upcoming 43rd Ryder Cup, held Sept. 24-26 at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin.
The award will be given to the player who best embodies the spirit of the event, “seeing the bigger picture and making decisions critical to sportsmanship, teamwork and performance at the Ryder Cup.”
“The excitement and energy surrounding the Ryder Cup always tests your poise, composure and decision-making, and when it matters most,” said Nicklaus, the 18-time major champion, two-time U.S. Ryder Cup captain and six-time player.
“The challenge is that every decision is magnified to its fullest because we’re not playing for just ourselves, but we’re playing for our country, teammates, captains, and fans.
“I’m glad to see that everyone involved in the Ryder Cup is identifying the importance of the choices these players make in the heat of competition and on one of golf’s biggest stages, and that they are recognizing and celebrating individuals who approach this competition with the proper spirit and who put an emphasis on good will and camaraderie.”
Jacklin, a seven-time Ryder Cupper, and four-time captain, added, “There’s always a decision that defines you in the Ryder Cup and to have an award that also highlights that decision is innovative for the game of golf and the Ryder Cup
“When I look back on my career, to be a part of Ryder Cups, the team atmosphere, and the importance of the decisions that followed – to giving players the opportunity to win an award based on that decision carries a lot of weight and will be a key accomplishment in their career.”
The award winner will be selected by a committee comprised of Nicklaus, Jacklin, other past European and U.S. Ryder Cup Captains, PGA of America President Jim Richerson, PGA of Great Britain and Ireland Chairman Alan White, representatives from Sky and NBC Sports and Carlo Clavarino, Aon’s Executive Chairman of International Business.
“Since its inception, the Ryder Cup was imagined as a spirited but friendly competition amongst allies. At its core, this remarkable tradition is based on the fundamental pillars of sportsmanship, teamwork and performance,” said Seth Waugh, PGA of America, CEO.
“We want to recognize and celebrate that key foundational tenet and so in collaboration with Aon, created an award to honor Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin’s historic act from 1969 that exemplified those honorable traits and set the stage for the future of the Ryder Cup.”
“The players are the beating heart of the Ryder Cup,” said European Ryder Cup Director Guy Kinnings. “Once every two years, these individual giants of our sport come together as a team and have to make decisions under the utmost scrutiny that not only affects themselves, but also their team-mates, their fans and their continent.
“Decision-making under such intense pressure is a crucial part of any Ryder Cup. It is fitting, therefore, that this new award, presented by Aon, not only recognizes the decisions that ultimately characterize success, but also the sportsmanship which has defined many of them over history and will continue to do so.”