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Thursday 18 September 2014

On a roll: Rory's Open-winning ball now worth €4k

Karl MacGinty

Published 30/07/2014 | 02:30

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Rory McIlroy yesterday
Rory McIlroy wins the Open

Want to buy the golf ball Rory McIlroy used to win the British Open?

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The ball McIlroy tapped into the cup at 18 to seal victory at Hoylake is up for auction on the internet. Bidding's already topped $5,558 (€4,145) and is expected to climb well into five figures.

In his delight at clinching his third Major title and landing the oldest and most precious trophy in golf, the Claret Jug, McIlroy threw it into the packed stand surrounding the 18th green.

"When Rory threw the ball, it hit me in the hand and then fell down," said Lee Horner from Leeds. "There was a kerfuffle but I managed to get it and when I held it up in the air, the crowd went crazy."

Horner put the specially-marked Nike RZN Black ball in a drawer when he went home and thought no more of it until a friend pointed out a $10,000 offer for it on Twitter.

Stunned, he got in touch with online golf memorabilia site, Green Jacket Auctions. Instead of accepting its $10,000 offer, Horner placed the ball for auction himself and agreed to pay 15pc of the final price to the website as a commission.

The identity of the ball has been confirmed by the manufacturer.

It has a dot under the tail of the Nike swoosh, the word RORS printed on it and a line through the 'RZN Black' lettering.

The ball was put up for auction last Wednesday and bidding closes in 10 days time on August 9. A total of 20 bids were made in the first seven days, opening at $1000 and rising to $5558 (€4145) by last night.

"We're not aware of any ball from a major championship that has ever been offered to the public before," auction company co-founder Ryan Carey told ESPN.com.

"No one collects tournament-used golf balls because it's a category that doesn't really exist."

Carey said players usually keep their balls for their own memorabilia collection or ignore the ball, simply put it back in a bag and don't recognise the memento in the future. "That's why we have no idea how much it will go for," he added.

Irish Independent

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