Innovative Award is inspired by famous 1969 Nicklaus-Jacklin Ryder Cup ‘concession’; New format to recognize one player based on teamwork, sportsmanship and performance; Winner embodies spirit of the Ryder Cup and demonstrates best decisions on and off the course

The Nicklaus-Jacklin Award presented by Aon, which recognizes the player that best embodies the true spirit of the Ryder Cup, will return for the 2023 edition in Rome. 

The Ryder Cup has delivered some of history’s most shining examples of teamwork, sportsmanship, and performance. The Award recognizes and memorializes these pillars of the Ryder Cup, highlighting the player who has most embodied the spirit of golf’s greatest contest.

“Golf is a sport that embodies principles of sportsmanship, integrity, and respect” said Guy Kinnings, Ryder Cup Director. “The concession in 1969 is a famous example of these principles in action and a spirit that has underpinned the Ryder Cup for decades. This Award will not only recognize the decisions that ultimately characterize success, but also the sportsmanship that defines them.”

The Award was inspired by the famous 1969 concession by Jack Nicklaus, which saw him give Tony Jacklin a 2-foot putt for a halved match, resulting in the first tie in Ryder Cup history. That storied moment has gone down as one of the most iconic demonstrations of sportsmanship in sports history.

“The Ryder Cup represents the best of golf and the Nicklaus-Jacklin Award presented by Aon has come to represent the best of the Ryder Cup,” said Jeff Price, PGA of America Chief Commercial Officer. “Being a great teammate means making better decisions when they matter most. It’s a natural next step to have this Award formally recognize the player that best embodies the principles of the Ryder Cup.”

The prestigious Award was launched at the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits (which took place in 2021) and was awarded to one player from each team. The Award will now be presented to a single player, beginning at the 2023 match. The recipient will be selected by Nicklaus and Jacklin and formally presented to the chosen player at the close of competition and announced on the live broadcast. 

“Decisions made at the Ryder Cup make history and better decisions are what separate great golfers from the legends of the game,” said Andy Weitz, Chief Marketing Officer of Aon. “As presenting partner of this Award, we’re proud to further recognize the impact of Mr. Nicklaus and Mr. Jacklin on the game of golf and inspire the next generation of Ryder Cup players to follow in their footsteps.” 

The Award is being highlighted in the run-up to the competition and throughout play in several ways, including features in the global television broadcast to offer additional context and engage fans, a six-part “Defining Decisions” social media series featuring Nicklaus, Jacklin and other Ryder Cup legends past and present, and an on-site activation in the fan village to showcase the Award to the anticipated 280,000 fans at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. 

The walls of both the U.S. and European team rooms will also be adorned with a personal letter, crafted by Nicklaus and Jacklin, which reinforces the enduring legacy of sportsmanship in the Ryder Cup. The following excerpts illustrate the importance of the Nicklaus-Jacklin Award presented by Aon to each of them:

Jack Nicklaus: “The Concession will forever link us, and that connection we share will always be a special part of my career. I know you agree that the Ryder Cup represents the best of golf and should also represent the best we can expect from those who compete. In that moment we shared the best of the Ryder Cup and I’ll never forget it.”

Tony Jacklin: “In that moment, when you conceded my 2-foot putt, you showed the world that good sportsmanship is just as important as winning. That is the golfing way. I’m proud that The Concession continues to inspire a legacy and with the Nicklaus-Jacklin Award, we have created a formal way of ensuring its spirit endures.”

A media kit with further details and downloadable assets on the Nicklaus-Jacklin Award presented by Aon can be accessed here. The “Defining Decisions” interviews with Nicklaus and Jacklin and other Ryder Cup legends, can be found here.