The $ign of our times – demand for Tiger Woods’ souvenirs exceeds the demand – Brief Article
Before the sun could rise on the U.S. Open’s final round, treasure seekers were crawling along the shores of Pebble Beach. The object of their desire? The ball that Tiger had infamously launched off the 18th tee the day before. Just after the 4:17 a.m. low tide, Mark Wyatt of Bakersfield, Calif., found five balls–including one with a “TIGER” stamped on it. The ball now resides within a clear plastic sphere in the Wyatt family room. Wyatt knows he could sell the ball for big bucks (between $2,000 and $5,000, says one collector). But “it means so much more than that,” Wyatt says. “It’s more important than a McGwire home-run ball.”
Collectors, sports fans and investors all want a piece of Tiger history. And that interest is paying off–at least for some. Just days after the 2000 U.S. Open, American Legends, which sells sports memorabilia on Ebay.com, sold a 2000 U.S. Open 18th-hole flag, allegedly signed by Tiger, for $1,440. A month later, Dermot Desmond of Britain bid a whopping $1.5 million at a charity for a similar flag.
“The demand for ephemera from tournaments Tiger has won is extremely strong,” says Mark Emerson, an autograph specialist in Columbus, Ohio. Problem is, the amount of memorabilia signed by Tiger–about 100 pieces a week, most of which is distributed through the Tiger Woods Foundation–does not come close to equaling the amount of Tiger goods now on the market. Says Bev Norwood of International Management Group, which represents Tiger: “I would not buy anything with Tiger’s signature on it, because a very high percentage of items offered are forgeries.”
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