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Tiger Woods-Tom Watson golf ball mix-up leads to lucrative find for one collector

December 13, 2022

If you're in possession of any Tiger Woods-related memorabilia and you're willing to part with it, the market for that stuff is (Sunday) red hot right now. That is, if you realize you're in possession of any Tiger Woods-related memorabilia.

Amazingly, that wasn't the case for one UK auction house, which mistook the autograph of the 15-time major champ for another legendary golfer with the same initials, Tom Watson. Whoops.

Not surprisingly, that mix-up made a big difference in the value of a signed golf ball. And one lucky/savvy collector took advantage of the situation. Thanks to Twitter's "The Collectibles Guru" for spotting the error that led to a $3,000 payday:

It's not the $5.15 million that Tiger's irons from 2000-2001 sold for earlier this year, but three grand is a nice haul.

So how did this happen? Well, other than the obvious "TW" confusion—and the fact that 99 percent of autographs are illegible—Titlelist golf balls signed by Tiger are rare. Woods switched to using a Nike ball in 2000 and signed with Bridgestone in 2016 after Nike shuttered its golf equipment business. Tom Watson, on the other hand, played Titleist golf balls for most of his career.

Regardless, it was an expensive bogey. And the latest reminder that in the world of golf—and golf memorabilia—there's Tiger Woods, and then there's everyone else.