We’ll have to wait until 2026 to see what impact the USGA’s potential ball rollback will have on tour player driving distance, but if you want to go back in time and perform your own tests on balls from two of the most famous Masters rounds of all time, here’s your chance.
Golden Age Auctions is currently presenting both a ball Tiger Woods used during the final round of his first major win in 1997 and one Jack Nicklaus used in the final round when he triumphed at age 46 in 1986. The story behind each has a familiar thread: Both have been consigned by then-child fans who got the balls as handouts during those famous rounds.
Woods had just made bogey on No. 5 and handed off his offending pellet to nine-year-old Julian Nexsen, who was promptly interviewed by a Washington Times reporter about the event. The ball comes in a frame with the article and Nexsen’s badge from that day.
Young fan Chris Timmerman was attending the 1986 Masters with his father, and they followed Nicklaus for nearly the entire round. Gary Nicklaus was caddieing for his father, and handed over a Nicklaus Tour Balata 392 from the pocket of his coveralls.
Bidding on the two items — which are a part of a Golden Age’s Masters auction that also includes a tournament-used Woods Scotty Cameron putter — is open until April 8.