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A Jack Nicklaus portrait by Andy Warhol headlines this Masters-themed mega-auction by Golden Age

April 05, 2024

Andy Warhol composed this Jack Nicklaus work in 1977 as part of an "Athletes" commission for Richard Weisman.

Plenty of tchotchke shops advertise gifts as one of a kind, but if giving something unique is really important, it's tough to beat a portrait of Jack Nicklaus painted by Andy Warhol.

You'll get your chance to make an amazing impression but be prepared to bring a fully-loaded checkbook. Warhol's 1977 work—one of a series of 10 he composed as part of an "Athletes" commission for Richard Weisman—is the centerpiece of Golden Age's Masters-themed mega-auction that kicked off this week.

Weisman donated the painting (which was one of a series that included sports heroes like Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Chris Evert) to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1992. With the museum downsizing and relocating, it is culling some of its collection with help from Golden Age. Given that an Ali portrait from the same series sold for $18 million, it isn't hard to imagine how this sale will help set the Hall of Fame on firm financial footing in its new home at the USGA's Pinehurst campus.

The Warhol is the headliner of a nearly 1,000-lot auction that closes Masters Saturday. Other treasures include multiple pieces of Tiger Woods tournament-worn clothing, one of Woods' personal wedges consigned by his former coach Hank Haney, Henry Picard's Ben Hogan-issued "Masters Club" locket presented at the first Champions Dinner and a three-piece tea set trophy given to Harry Vardon by his home club in 1903 in honor of his Open Championship victory. Two different pairs of Woods shoes are up for auction—one from the 1999 PGA and Ryder Cup and another from the 2010 Ryder Cup—along with the shirt he wore for the third round at the 2010 Masters. The wedge comes with a charmingly detailed hand-written note from Haney explaining that Woods gave him the wedge directly from his garage so Haney could tailor his short-game instruction to the specific grind Woods had built into his short-game clubs.

In the unlikely event that Warhol's pleasing green-and-yellow color palette doesn't match your upholstery—or you're not quite ready to drop seven figures—also available is one of the original American team-issued Sunday shirts from the 1999 Ryder Cup. It would be, um, generous to say the whole maroon-and-sepia scrapbook look has aged gracefully, but this artifact will look much better on the wall of your study than an identical one did on Justin Leonard's back when he made the famous winning putt at Brookline.