2023 March Golf Memorabilia Auction - Closing Date 3/06/2023
Search By:
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 3/6/2023

Gene Littler's 1957 Tournament of Champions Used Winning Spalding 3 Golf Ball

From the face of Gene Littler's putter, dropping to the bottom of the cup and then transferred from the newest Tournament of Champions winner's hand to Ralph Hutchison's - the travels of this historically significant Spalding 3 logo golf ball. Hutchinson was waiting just off the 18th green to congratulate 'The Machine' Littler and receive the winning ball as he always did. It was a practice that the players were used to, now serving airtight story of provenance in which has yielded many of the finest 'major winning golf balls' offered to the public thus far. Gene Litter would defend his title...twice! It was the third consecutive Tournament of Champions Title for Littler over a field that featured the best in the world as the name implies. For evidence of this look no further than the list of runner ups three strokes back, including fellow major winners Billy Capser, Jimmy Demaret, and Dow Finsterwald. "Littler T of C 1957" is written on this Spalding in ballpoint pen over the dimples to remember its significance, accompanied by a vintage display nameplate by Ralph Hutchison. A letter of provenance from The Golf Auction stating it was part of the Ralph Hutchison Collection will comes with this lot.

RALPH HUTCHISON COLLECTION OF CHAMPIONSHIP USED GOLF BALLS--Who is Ralph Hutchison? How did he acquire these historically significant golf balls? Ralph Hutchison, whose great-Uncle was golf Hall of Famer Jock Hutchison grew up in the Oklahoma City area with Jack Grout (the primary instructor of Jack Nicklaus), although Nicklaus would call Hutchison "my second favorite teacher". Hutchison in 1931 became a golf professional and worked under Tommy Armour and Ed Dudley. When Dudley was named the first head professional at the Augusta National Golf Club, he took along Hutchison as his first assistant. "Hutch" held this position from 1932-35 a time period which saw him meet Bobby Jones with the two becoming close friends. So close, that Jones recommended Hutchinson in '35 for the Head Pro's job at Saucon Valley in Bethlehem, PA. He held the position for over 39 years while still competing during his early career with appearances in PGA tournaments primarily in the Winter Tour. During this time period he reunited to travel by car to the various tournament stops with Jack Grout and a third young aspiring pro by the name of Ben Hogan (confirmed by Hogan in one of his few later life TV interviews with CBS in 1983). In 1945, Hutchinson reached the quarter finals of the PGA Championship falling to Claude Harmon. This performance however earned him an invite to play in the 1946 Masters. In 1947, the Augusta National was taking the first steps to better keep fans in the know of play on the course as they installed the first field scoreboards. A conversation from the year before, at the Masters, between Hutchinson and his old friend Bobby Jones led to "Hutch" being positioned at the 18th green as an announcer. As the players approached the 18th Hutchinson would greet them, following up after they putted out with an announcement of what they shot for that day and for the tournament. He carried this position at the Masters through 1971 along with his additional tournament duties on the rules and pairings committees. In addition to the Masters as both player and announcer, Hutchison also combined for this same unique combo at the U.S. Open playing in six events while serving the U.S.G.A. as it's 18th hole announcer at 15 other Open Championships. With all of this major golf experience, and personal relationships with the top players of the game Ralph Hutchison developed a sense for preserving the history of the game. This is bore out in the words of Jack Nicklaus from his 1997 autobiography page 105. Nicklaus describes his 1963 first Masters win, "As I'd walked onto the eighteenth green, the announcer there, Ralph Hutchison, had asked me to save the ball if I won and give it to Bob Jones. When the winning putt dropped, I just had to throw something, so I whipped off my cap and slung it to the crowd. At the ceremony a little later, Mr. Jones and I made an exchange. After he and the previous year's champion Arnold Palmer, had presented me with my green jacket, I gave Bob the ball. It was a small thing, but the look in his eyes remains one of the most emotional memories of my life." So Bobby Jones got the winning ball in 1963 from Jack Nicklaus not Ralph Hutchinson, but "Hutch" got plenty of others for his collection in the same manor. It is a great honor for The Golf Auction to present to the collecting world historical Championship balls from Ralph Hutchinson's days as the 18th hole announcer at both the Open Championship and United States Open.

The Golf Auction is proud to present our 2023 March Auction. This eclectic group of memorabilia represents all areas of the golf collecting world, so please utilize the categories column to help navigate you towards your preferred collectibles. Bids must be placed before 10pm ET, Sunday, March 5th in order to participate in extended bidding


Place your bids NOW. The auction will close beginning at 10:00pm EDT Sunday, March 5th. When placing your INITIAL bid in the auction, you must agree to the terms BEFORE confirming your bid. Each lot has its own 30 minute countdown clock during extended bidding. The clock will extend 30-minutes from the time of the most recently placed bid for that lot. If no bids are placed on that lot during a 30-minute period, the lot will close. Place your bids now!

1. Place your initial bids BEFORE 10pm ET in order to bid on the item in extended bidding
2. During extended bidding, you may bid only on items you PREVIOUSLY placed a bid on.
3. Lots with only ONE or NO BIDS will close at 10pm ET

Extended bidding starts at 10pm ET, and each lot will begin closing with its own 30-minute countdown timer. Lots without a bid placed during extended bidding will close at 10:30pm ET. We recommend you place your maximum bid(s) prior to that time. Thank you

Please Note: TGA will charge the Bidder/Buyer of the Item(s) a commission (Buyer’s Premium) of nineteen and one-half percent (19.5%) on the successful and final bid price of each of the Item(s) or lot(s) won. No discounts apply. No returns. TGA is not responsible for customs, duties, brokerage and/or similar charges on items shipped internationally. Placement of a bid in this auction constitutes acceptance of all of the terms and conditions in this auction. ALL SALES ARE FINAL.

Gene Littler's 1957 Tournament of Champions Used Winning Spalding 3 Golf BallGene Littler's 1957 Tournament of Champions Used Winning Spalding 3 Golf BallGene Littler's 1957 Tournament of Champions Used Winning Spalding 3 Golf BallGene Littler's 1957 Tournament of Champions Used Winning Spalding 3 Golf BallGene Littler's 1957 Tournament of Champions Used Winning Spalding 3 Golf BallGene Littler's 1957 Tournament of Champions Used Winning Spalding 3 Golf BallGene Littler's 1957 Tournament of Champions Used Winning Spalding 3 Golf Ball
Gene Littler's 1957 Tournament of Champions Used Winning Spalding 3 Golf Ball
Click above for larger image.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $100.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $683.54
Number Bids: 13
Auction closed on Monday, March 6, 2023.
Email A Friend
Ask a Question
Have One To Sell

Auction Notepad


You may add/edit a note for this item or view the notepad:  

Submit    Delete     View all notepad items