2019 marks 50 years since the ultimate act of sportsmanship took place between golf icons Tony Jacklin CBE and Jack Nicklaus.
The 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale Golf Club witnessed a marquee pairing in the final singles match of Nicklaus—a 29-year-old Ryder Cup rookie but with seven major-championship titles already on his résumé—and Jacklin, who months earlier became the first British player to win The Open Championship in 18 years. With their match, as well as the team competition, tied, Jack conceded Tony’s final putt, which led to the first tie in Ryder Cup history. It sent a message that sportsmanship transcended results, and it was the genesis of a lifelong friendship between the two champions.
During a recent event at Wentworth Golf Club in Surrey, the pair reunited a half-century since the now iconic “Concession” took place. On Saturday 6 July, Tony and Jack were joined by guests to take part in an event to celebrate the anniversary and at the same time raise money for charity.
17 teams gathered on the venue’s West Course to play at the same venue which hosts the BMW PGA Championship. The day, which was organised by leading brand agency Champions (UK) plc, got underway with a verbal masterclass from the pair, giving players tips on the short form of the game and course management.
Following the day’s play, guests gathered for a cocktail reception and three-course meal before Tony and Jack took to the stage for a fascinating Q&A. BBC Sport and news presenter Dan Walker hosted the occasion as the duo discussed some of their many career highlights.
BBC’s Charlie Ross took care of proceedings for the charity auction, with proceeds going to The European Tour Foundation, Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People, and the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.
Entertainment on the night was provided by 2019 Britain’s Got Talent star Faith Tucker and renowned pianist Adrian Dixon.
During the course of his incredible career, Tony won two majors and is Europe’s most successful Ryder Cup captain.
“It was great to see Jack again and celebrate one of the stand-out moments in both of our careers,” Tony said.
“The Concession displayed the ultimate act of sportsmanship. Jack is one of the greatest players to ever play the game and it was an honour to spend time together 50 years on.”
Jack Nicklaus won a record 18 majors, among his 120 professional victories worldwide, and is one of only five golfers who have won all of golf's modern majors—referred to as the career “Grand Slam.” Known as the Golden Bear, Jack was never on a losing team in six Ryder Cup matches, and was a two-time captain.
“It was great to see Tony again and relive the Concession,” Jack said. “I’ve always believed that sportsmanship and integrity are paramount in golf, and it’s great to see how this moment has withstood the test of time and is still remembered by people today.
“The event at Wentworth was a huge success, and most important, it raised significant money for three impactful charities.”