New Award Named After Nicklaus and Jacklin to Debut at this Year’s Ryder Cup
For years, the Ryder Cup has had an unofficial award known as “Man of the Match” presented to the key contributor in golf’s ultimate team event. The PGA of America, Ryder Cup Europe and Aon plc have announced the creation of a new official award called The Nicklaus – Jacklin Award presented by Aon.
The first-of-its-kind award will be given to two players, one each from the US and European Ryder Cup teams, who best embody the spirit of the event.
Players competing at the 43rd Ryder Cup this September will have the chance to become the first recipients of The Nicklaus-Jacklin Award presented by Aon at this year’s tournament at Whistling Straits.
The award is named in honour of Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin and the famous conclusion of the final match in 1969 at Royal Birkdale, where Nicklaus conceded a short putt to Jacklin that halved the matched and allowed the Ryder Cup to end in a tie with the Americans keeping the cup as defending champions.
The award commemorates sportsmanship, teamwork and the type of strategic decisions that attract people to the game.
Seth Waugh, PGA of America CEO said “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. We want to recognise 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 honourable traits and set the stage for the future of the Ryder Cup.”
European Ryder Cup Director Guy Kinnings said “The players are the beating heart of the Ryder Cup. 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 recognises the decisions that ultimately characterise success, but also the sportsmanship which has defined many of them over history and will continue to do so.”
“Inspired by the events at the 1969 competition, this new award embodies values we aspire to at Aon, and also celebrates the decisions that will continue to shape the future of this iconic team event,” said Carlo Clavarino, Executive Chairman, International Business, Aon. “In golf – as in business – the decisions that really make an impact aren’t always obvious. Every day, we work to ensure our clients have the information, insights and advice they need to make better decisions that deliver successful outcomes.”
The deciding committee will include: 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, Executive Chairman, International Business, Aon.
Jack Nicklaus, 18-time major champion, two-time US Ryder Cup captain and six-time team member said “The excitement and energy surrounding the Ryder Cup always tests your poise, composure and decision-making, and when it matters most. 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.”
Seven time team member and four time European Ryder Cup captain, Tony Jacklin said “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.”