The Defining Decision that launched the Nicklaus-Jacklin Award presented by Aon
Tony Jacklin could have made the putt.
In all likelihood, odds considered, he probably would have. It was just two feet after all – a mere .6 meters in the local measurements. A gimme on any ordinary day at Royal Birkdale.
But that’s the thing, this wasn’t any ordinary day at Royal Birkdale. This was the final putt of the final match of the final day of the Ryder Cup. A razor-thin margin between an expected conclusion, and the almost unthinkable alternative.
So could Jacklin have made the putt? Absolutely.
Was he likely to make it? Probably.
But in a moment of intense pressure, where 24 inches can suddenly feel like a mile, could he also have missed it?
As he picked up Jacklin’s marker and shook his hand, Jack Nicklaus said it best, "I don't think you would have missed it, but I wasn't going to give you the chance, either."
And so began the legend fondly known as ‘The Concession.’ A life-long friendship, founded over two short feet and one simple act of sportsmanship.
The Nicklaus-Jacklin Award presented by Aon represents everything the Ryder Cup stands for. In this four (4) part series, we take a look back at some of the most defining Ryder Cup decisions around the awards three pillars: sportsmanship, teamwork, and performance.
The series, launching today, starts where it all began – with the 1969 Concession and the better decision that Jack Nicklaus made to concede his putt to Tony. Hear from Jack and Tony on why that decision has continued to shape the Ryder Cup, and tune in weekly as we highlight additional acts of sportsmanship, teamwork and historic performances that have defined the past 42 Ryder Cup matches. Click to Watch Episode 1, now.