The Tony Jacklin Ryder Cup Collection is the result of lifelong friendships and incredible achievements. Honouring both has been at the core of the collection since day one.
Tony Jacklin has played with and against the greatest golfers that have ever lived. Tony's relationship with Jack Nicklaus is well documented and understandably represents sportsmanship at in its finest form.
How did the collection come to fruition? Here is the story...
Tony Jacklin CBE, revolutionised and inspired the world of golf when he won The Open Championship in 1969 and The American Open Championship in 1970.
It was the beginning of a brilliant and illustrious career filled with numerous triumphs, including the central role Tony was to play in the transformation of The Ryder Cup, of which he became the greatest ever Captain.
In the 1969 Ryder Cup, Jack Nicklaus famously conceded Tony Jacklin's final putt, which resulted in the tournament being tied. This outstanding sporting gesture, which came to be known as "The Concession", became an historic moment in the history of The Ryder Cup.
United by a common vision and the support of the golfing world, Tony and Jack played central roles in the transformation of The Ryder Cup into the massively successful worldwide competition between Europe and America which it has become.
In 1972, inspired by the renewed heights achieved in British and world golf, portrait artist Joe Austen established The Austen Gallery of Champions, permanently located within ten feet of the eighteenth fairway of the world-renowned Old Course in St Andrews, exhibiting an ever-growing collection of champions' portraits, paying enduring tribute to the greats of golf in the heart of The Home of Golf.
The Collection began with individual portraits of Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus and a large composite oil painting entitled " The World of Golf," also featuring Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus, together with many other greats of golf, past and present, from Old Tom Morris and Bobby Jones to Gary Player and Arnold Palmer.
As portraits of new champions continued to be added to the Collection over the years, one of the most significant developments in the history of world golf was taking place with the transformation of The Ryder Cup under the visionary guidance of Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus.
In a record which will never be surpassed as a four-times Ryder Cup Captain, Tony Jacklin led the teams which broke the American stranglehold on The Ryder Cup in the 1980's and secured his place in history as the greatest Ryder Cup Captain of all time.
United once again by a common vision inspired by The Ryder Cup, Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus combined their unique talents and experience to create The Concession Golf Course in Florida, which has come to be recognised as one of the greatest golf courses in the world.
Throughout the years, Joe Austen continued to paint numerous portraits of golf's greatest players, many of which were acquired by prestigious private and public collections throughout the world, while further portraits continued to be added to the permanent Collection in The Austen Gallery of Champions in St Andrews.
Upon the occasion of the return of The Open Championship to St Andrews in 2010, various distinguished guests, including Tony Jacklin, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Sandy Lyle, Roberto de Vicenzo and others, visited The Austen Gallery, and Rolex commissioned Joe Austen to create a composite oil painted portrait of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.
From this painting, a unique series of 250 Limited Edition Prints were produced, with each print being individually signed by Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Joe Austen. The co-signed Limited Edition Prints were then presented as exclusive gifts by Rolex to various valued clients around the world.
It was during The Open Championship that discussions also began between Tony Jacklin and Joe Austen, which resulted in The Concession acquiring a series of golf portraits from the Austen Gallery of Champions, for exhibition in The Concession's magnificent clubhouse in Florida.
In future visits to The Concession, Joe Austen had the unique opportunity and privilege of being inspired by Tony Jacklin's personal vision of The Ryder Cup and Tony's enduring wish to pay tribute to its greatest players.
In addition to his own greatness as a player, the secret of Tony Jacklin's supreme quality as a Ryder Cup Captain lay his unerring ability to inspire others to achieve the greatness in themselves, and it is in this spirit of paying tribute to the achievements of others that The Tony Jacklin Ryder Cup Collection has been created, based upon Tony's selection of those players who have made the greatest contributions to The Ryder Cup throughout its history.
From the players selected by Tony, Joe Austen has created a series of individual oil painted portraits, to be placed on permanent exhibition in The Austen Gallery of Champions in St Andrews.
Each portrait will also be the subject of a series of 100 Limited Edition Canvas Giclee Prints, with each of the prints to be individually signed by Tony Jacklin, the player portrayed, and the artist.
The first four series of Limited Edition Canvas Giclee Prints to be issued are of The Ryder Cup's greatest historic Captains, Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus, and its most recent Captains, Paul McGinley and Tom Watson.