Jack Nicklaus, Tony Jacklin | 1969 Ryder Cup

Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin shake hands after Nicklaus conceded a two-foot putt that halved their match and resulted in the first tie in Ryder Cup history in 1969. The gesture is considered among the great acts of sportsmanship in golf history.

Two players – one each from the United States and European teams – will be the recipients of a new award at the conclusion of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in September.

The Nicklaus-Jacklin Award presented by Aon will be given to the players who best embody the spirit of the event and display sportsmanship, teamwork and performance at the Ryder Cup.

The first-of-its-kind award is named after the famous 1969 concession by Jack Nicklaus, in which he gave Tony Jacklin a two-foot putt for a halved match that resulted in the first tie in Ryder Cup history. That gesture is considered among the great acts of sportsmanship in golf history.

“I don’t believe you would have missed that,” Nicklaus reportedly said as he picked up Jacklin’s marker, “but I’d never give you the opportunity in these circumstances.”

Nicklaus and Jacklin will help select the recipients, along with a committee that includes other past U.S. and European Ryder Cup captains and PGA of America President Jim Richerson, the former general manager and group director of golf for Kohler Co. Nicklaus was a two-time Ryder Cup captain and six-time team member and Jacklin led four European teams and played in the Ryder Cup seven times.

“The excitement and energy surrounding the Ryder Cup always tests your poise, composure and decision-making, and when it matters most,” Nicklaus said in a statement. “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 the competition with the proper spirit and who put an emphasis on good will and camaraderie.”

The 43rd Ryder Cup is scheduled for Sept. 24-26. Europe has won seven of the last nine matches and beat the United States, 17½ to 10½, in Paris in 2018. The biennial matches were to be held at Whistling Straits in 2020 but were postponed one year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Since its inception, the Ryder Cup was imagined as a spirited by friendly competition amongst allies,” said Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America. “At its core, this remarkable tradition is based on the fundamental pillars of sportsmanship, teamwork and performance. 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.”

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