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Items from Notable Champs Top 2022 USGA Museum Acquisitions December 19, 2022 | Liberty Corner, N.J. By Kylie Garabed, USGA

Several items worn and signed by inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open competitors were acquired by the USGA Museum. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

In 2022, hundreds of artifacts and library materials were carefully and thoughtfully brought into the USGA Golf Museum and Library’s already vast collection of items of importance to the game’s history. These new acquisitions ranged from historic scrapbooks to fine and contemporary art to items used by this year’s USGA champions. Here are 10 of what we consider the most important acquisitions of the year:

Items from the Inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open

The introduction of the U.S. Adaptive Open in 2022 provided an unprecedented opportunity for golfers with disabilities from around the world to compete in a national championship and highlighted the talents of the adaptive golf community on a grand stage at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 6. The museum’s senior director, Hilary Cronheim, was on-site during the championship to witness history and to collect items from the champions and competitors to ensure that the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open will be remembered for decades to come.

Champion Kim Moore, who is a PGA teaching professional and the women’s golf coach at Western Michigan University, donated the 52-degree wedge she relied on during the championship. Simon Lee, of the Republic of Korea, who is autistic, won the men’s title after a two-hole playoff with Felix Norrman, of Sweden. Lee signed and donated the hat he wore during the championship. The museum also acquired a flag from the first hole of the championship signed by both champions, highlighting the unique nature of the U.S. Adaptive Open, during which the men’s and women’s divisions are conducted simultaneously.

It became very clear that simply competing in this Adaptive Open was as much of an inspiring accomplishment as winning the title. Amy Bockerstette, who went viral for her impressive sand save during a 2019 practice round at TPC Scottsdale with Gary Woodland, competed in the Adaptive Open wearing a hat featuring the words, “I Got This”, which is both her personal mantra and the name of the foundation formed by Bockerstette and her family. The I Got This Foundation works to provide golf instruction and playing opportunities for people with Down Syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. Jeremy Bittner, who is a lifelong multisport athlete despite losing his leg at age 4, donated the ball he used to make the first hole-in-one in U.S. Adaptive Open history. 

The second-place medal won by C.B. Macdonald at the 1894 amateur competition at St. Andrews Golf Club. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Charles Blair Macdonald’s 2nd-place medal, 1894

Prior to the founding of the USGA in 1894, Newport Country Club in Newport, R.I., and St. Andrew’s Golf Club in Yonkers, N.Y., both held events to crown a national amateur champion. The conflicting events highlighted the need for a governing body with the authority to host a true national championship, and later that year, the USGA was founded. Charles Blair Macdonald famously finished as the runner-up in both 1894 events and loudly questioned the validity of these championships. He was vindicated the following year when he won the 1895 U.S. Amateur, the first national championship run by golf’s young governing body. This second-place medal was awarded to Macdonald in 1894 at the event hosted by St. Andrew’s. It predates USGA history but has a similar style and was even made by the same manufacturer that would go on to produce USGA championship medals. Macdonald went on to become a renowned golf course architect and served as the USGA's first vice president.

A look at the glove worn by Charlie Sifford when he captured the 1967 Hartford Open on the PGA Tour. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Charlie Sifford’s glove, 1967 Greater Hartford Open

Until its removal in 1961, the PGA of America’s “Caucasian-Only” Clause barred people of color such as Charlie Sifford, Bill Spiller and Ted Rhodes from becoming members, ensuring that only white competitors played in most professional tournaments. Sifford made a name for himself in the thriving community of Black professional golfers who played on the United Golfers’ Association Tour. Six years after the discriminatory clause was lifted, Sifford claimed his first victory on the PGA Tour, the 1967 Greater Hartford Open. Sifford wore this glove during the final round of the tournament before signing it and giving it to the tournament’s co-chairman, James C. Dillon.

This glove is a significant acquisition because it is the first artifact owned and used by Sifford to enter the museum’s collection and it highlights the museum’s efforts to build our collection related to African-American golf history. 

The shoes and glove worn by Matt Fitzpatrick during his 2022 U.S. Open win at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Items used by Matt Fitzpatrick, 2022 U.S. Open

In 2022, Matt Fitzpatrick won his first U.S. Open with a one-stroke victory over Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., the same course where he won his U.S. Amateur title in 2013. Following his win, Fitzpatrick signed and donated the glove he wore during the last round of the championship as well as the shoes he wore throughout the championship. Upon receiving the shoes, museum staff were excited to see that on the insole, Fitzpatrick added the logo of his favorite soccer team, Sheffield United. Artifacts that showcase the unique personalities of those who play in USGA championships are so valuable to the museum because they allow visitors to connect with players on a more personal level and form deeper connections with people they may only see on television.

2022 U.S. Women's Open champion Minjee Lee donated the shoes and hat she wore at Pine Needles. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Items used by Minjee Lee, 2022 U.S. Women’s Open

Minjee Lee won her second major championship when she captured the U.S. Women’s Open title in June at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club. Lee’s win was historic because not only did she break the 72-hole scoring record set by legends Juli Inkster and Annika Sorenstam, she also won a record $1.8 million for her victory, the highest first place prize in U.S. Women’s Open history. This prize was made possible by ProMedica becoming a sponsor of the championship, allowing the purse to grow to $10 million and raising the importance and impact of the U.S. Women’s Open. Lee donated her Hana Bank hat and the shoes she wore during the championship.     

African American dentist George Grant patented the first wooden golf tee. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Replica George Grant tee

In 1899, Dr. George Grant, a dentist who was known for his work with cleft palates and one of the first African-American students to graduate from Harvard’s School of Dental Medicine, patented the first wooden golf tee. An avid golfer, Dr. Grant was looking for a solution to the awkward practice of the time  of using a sandbox and some water placed near the tee to fashion a small mound of sand. Dissatisfied with this messy process, Grant invented and patented a tee which he produced for personal use and gifted to friends and family. Because Grant didn’t mass produce or advertise his invention, very few of his tees have survived, and his contribution is mostly forgotten. In 2022, researcher Ken Francella donated this tee built from the specifications of Dr. Grant’s 1899 patent by Gere Jorgensen, providing us all the opportunity to see what Dr. Grant’s tees looked like. 

This is the only USGA medal awarded to the legendary Mickey Wright that is in the Museum's collection. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Champion’s medal won by Mickey Wright, 1959 U.S. Women’s Open

As one of two women to win four U.S. Women’s Open Championships and with 82 professional victories, Mickey Wright is an incredibly important figure to the USGA and golf in general. After winning her first U.S. Women’s Open in 1958, Wright became the first woman to defend her title when she defeated two-time champion and LPGA founder Louise Suggs in 1959 at Churchill Valley Country Club in Pittsburgh, Pa. Although the museum has a comprehensive collection that spans Wright’s personal life and professional career and a room dedicated to her, this becomes the only champion’s medal awarded to Wright in our collection. 

The Museum acquired a trophy, shirt and bag tag from legendary player Chi Chi Rodriguez. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Items used by Chi Chi Rodriguez

While on tour, Chi Chi Rodriguez became known for his unique fashion sense, his interactions with the gallery and his almost theatrical performances on the course. Although he never won a major championship, Rodriguez used his time on tour to provide for his family and fund multiple charitable endeavors focused on providing youths access to the game. In 2022, the museum acquired a small collection of artifacts that highlight Chi Chi’s career and colorful personality. Included in this acquisition are two of Rodriguez’s colorful patterned shirts, a golf bag, a headcover, and a bag tag from the 1991 U.S. Senior Open, in which he forced an 18-hole playoff against eventual champion Jack Nicklaus. Also included in the collection is a Good Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America, which demonstrates Rodriguez’s tireless commitment to community service. 

Pants worn by 1965 U.S. Open champion Gary Player, one of the game's legendary golfers. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Black and white pants worn and signed by Gary Player

In 1960, at the Open Championship at St. Andrews in Scotland, South African-born Gary Player wore this pair of golf pants with one white leg and one black leg to protest the practice of race discrimination in his home country, known as apartheid. At the Open in 2000 (also at St. Andrews), Player wore the pants once again, bringing the conversation back to the forefront. Player was one of the “Big Three” in golf during the 1960s alongside Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. After winning his first major championship in 1959 at just 23 years old, Player went on to capture a total of nine majors and over 160 professional tournaments. These pants allow visitors to understand a more complex version of what race discrimination and advocacy in golf has looked like throughout the game’s history and illustrate how well-known players have used their platform to advocate for better treatment of marginalized groups. 

A look at a scrapbook containing photos from the 1925 U.S. Open at Worcester (Mass.) Country Club. (USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)

Scrapbook from the 1925 U.S. Open

In 2022, the library acquired this small photo scrapbook made by a fan who attended the 1925 U.S. Open at Worcester (Mass.) Country Club. These little-known photos are special not only because they feature such prominent players as Bob Jones, Walter Hagen, Johnny Farrell, Francis Ouimet and the 1925 champion, Willie MacFarlane, but because they offer insight into what attending a championship in 1925 was like. This perspective on a championship is invaluable because historical championships are mostly remembered through photos taken by the media, news articles and record books.

Kylie Garabed is the junior curator at the USGA Golf Museum and Library. E-mail her at