Four major championship trophies won by golf legend Gary Player have been sold at auction for nearly $600,000 (£450,000/€500,000), despite his opposition to the sale.
Player’s original 1978 Masters trophy was the top seller, netting $253,386 (£189,585/€209,292) including the buyer’s premium, in an auction organised by Golden Age Golf Auctions.
The South African overcame a seven-shot deficit going into the final round at Augusta to win his third Masters and ninth major championship.
Player, then aged 42, shot a record-tying eight-under 64 in the final round to win by one stroke from three players tied for second place, including the United States’ defending champion Tom Watson.
The next most expensive trophy to be auctioned was a scale model of the Claret Jug Player lifted for winning the 1974 British Open, the eighth of his major championship titles when he beat Britain’s Peter Oosterhuis by four strokes at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club, which sold for $143,030 (£107,003/€118,122), including buyer’s premium.
The scale model of the U.S. Open trophy Player won at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country in Missouri was auctioned for $97,691 (£73,084/€80,677), including the buyer’s premium.
Player defeated Kel Nagle of Australia in an 18-hole playoff and was the first foreign-born winner of the U.S. Open since 1927, the victory completing his career Grand Slam at the age of 29.
He became only the third golfer in history to win the career Grand Slam, following Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen, and only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have performed the feat since, meaning Player remains the only non-American to achieve the historic landmark.
The event was also historic because it was the first U.S. Open to be broadcast on colour television.
The fourth of Player’s major championship trophies to be sold off was the an official large scale Wannamaker Trophy he earned for winning the 1972 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills in Michigan, which sold for $80,736 (£60,409/€66,675), including the buyer’s premium.
It was the sixth of Player's nine major titles, but his first in over four years.
The four trophies raised a combined total of $574,843 (£430,115/€474,740).
According to the New Jersey-based Golden Age Golf Auctions, the trophies "were previously sold to a private collector to raise money for charitable causes".
Player, though, had made it clear publicly he did not endorse the sale of the items.
"I have been made aware of the online auction of replica trophies of certain golf tournaments that I have won," the 85-year-old said in a statement.
"These trophies have been put up for auction without my permission."
Also sold at the auction were Player’s 1997 and 1998 U.S. Senior Open trophies for $30,326 (£22,691/€25,045) and $12,860 (£9,622/€10,619), respectively.
Others that went under the hammer were Player’s 1990 Senior PGA trophy for $14,147 (£10,585/€11,682) and the one from his 1997 victory at the Senior Player’s Championship for $8,784 (£6,572/€7,254).