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Treasured Artifacts Recall the Lives Lost 21 Years Ago September 11, 2022 By Greg Midland, USGA

These three golf artifacts recovered at Ground Zero are now housed in the USGA's Museum in Liberty Corner, N.J. (USGA/John Mummert)

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The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, will forever be remembered for the 2,977 innocent people who lost their lives, as well as the first responders and bystanders whose heroic actions saved countless more people.

In the aftermath of the attacks, sports became a part of the healing process and a way to honor those who died. Golf has a prominent place in this narrative. Three pieces of golf equipment, recovered on the same day by different people working in separate areas at Ground Zero, underscore how the game touched and enriched the lives of people who worked at the World Trade Center. They were donated to the USGA Golf Museum and Library and are part of the permanent collection:

  • A mid-iron, found in the rubble of the North Tower. Gift of Rev. Jeffrey Skopak.

  • A golf ball, bearing the logo of the New York Shipping Alliance (NYSA), recovered in rubble thought to be from the 20th floor of the South Tower. Gift of John Caputo.

  • Fragment of a driver, found by New York City firefighter Rob Kiernan. Gift of TaylorMade Golf Company.

Unlike many artifacts in the USGA’s collection, these were not used to win a major championship or set a scoring record. Yet culturally they may have more meaning, a sobering reminder of the Sept. 11 attacks and small symbols of the space golf occupies in our everyday lives. One can imagine the clubs resting against a wall in an office, or the ball displayed on a desk.

Golf is a game of hope, optimism and generosity. These artifacts shine a light of thoughtful remembrance from one of the darkest days in human history.

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