What Is Nicklaus-Jacklin Award? And Who Is the 2023 recipient?

Published 09/30/2023, 11:26 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

“Golf is a sport that embodies principles of sportsmanship, integrity, and respect,” said Guy Kinnings, Ryder Cup Director. That’s precisely what the Ryder Cup celebrates. Undoubtedly one of the most anticipated showdowns in the golf world, the biennial event has given fans moments of intense rivalry and has filled many with heated debate. No matter how fierce the competition is, the goal remains to win by merit, not by any scheme.

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Alongside that, of course, the event has also offered fans some brilliant moments of sportsmanship, teamwork, and camaraderie. To commemorate this alongside the individual and team performances, Aon, the event’s partner, decided to bring in the Nicklaus-Jacklin Award in 2021. Last time while two golfers took the trophy home, this time it was just one, an English superstar!

What is the Nicklaus-Jacklin Award at this year’s Ryder Cup?

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The Ryder Cup is a storied stage for sportsmanship, integrity, and respect that underpins the biennial event. The award recognizes the players who embody these principles.

Aon started giving out the Nicklaus-Jacklin Award from the last edition of the Ryder Cup. In 2021, at Whistling-Straits, the award was presented to one member from each team. Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia won the inaugural awards from the USA and Europe, respectively. This time, however, the award will be presented to only one player. This year’s winner was also announced just minutes ago, and it was none other than the American star Justin Rose, who managed a score of 1 win, 1 tie, and 1 loss at the event!

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The English golfer tied the Friday fourball match alongside Robert MacIntyre. The duo paired up again the next day for the fourball and won. On Sunday, Rose lost his singles round to Patrick Cantlay 2 & 1. Despite losing the battle, Europe won the war, and the Englishman was presented with arguably the highest honor of the event—the Nicklaus-Jacklin Award.

The name of the award stems from two former captains—Tony Jacklin of Great Britain and Jack Nicklaus of the USA. The award is inspired by the famous ‘concession’ in 1969, when the US captain gave his rival captain a two-foot putt for a halved match. This resulted in the first tie in Cup history.

The famous match between the two captains has gone down in history as one of the most iconic moments in sports history. Indeed, there is a golf club in Florida that goes by the name of The Concession Golf Club. So, this begs the question: why is it so significant?

What makes the 1969 Concession Cup a historic moment?

In 1969, at Royal Birkdale, two captains, Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus, faced each other in the singles match. The nail-biting match went to the final hole. On the 18th par-3 hole, while standing even in the scores, Nicklaus played his second shot, missing the hole by a mere two feet. The US captain, however, made up for it when he saved the par by holing the ball from two feet in his next shot.

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Jacklin followed suit with his second shot, just a few feet away from the hole too. However, rather than forcing his counterpart to make a short putt in a tense situation, the 18-time Major winner bent down to pick up the marker, thereby conceding a half point and tying the match.

The two then went on to hug each other and share the trophy. It is the mutual respect these two shared for each other and their opponent teams that makes this event so significant, even after fifty years.

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It is easy to miss the big picture, especially in an intense tournament like the Ryder Cup. But in moments like these, the sport becomes much more than just another competition.

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Written by:

Parnab Bhattacharya

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One take at a time

Parnab is a budding golf writer at Essentially Sports. He is keen on exploring his newfound love for golf through his long-time passion for writing. With a strong knack for storytelling and experience in SEO content writing, he brings a unique blend of fluent writing and technical expertise.
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Edited by:

Sheldon Pereira

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