The Ryder Cup is the biggest event in golf, and one of the biggest ways the Chicago area is marking the occasion is by displaying a collection of gigantic golf balls.
As part of the Ryder Cup festivities, artists and celebrities have teamed up to create a collection of three-foot golf balls painted to represent scenes and symbols of Chicago and the Ryder Cup. The balls are being sold to benefit Chicagoland charities, and the five most special spheres are being auctioned off on eBay.
The auction is part of the Magnificent Moments campaign , an officially sanctioned charitable fundraising program for the Ryder Cup to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana and The Illinois PGA Foundation. The online auction will begin on Monday, Sept. 24, and concludes on Monday, Oct. 1.
The Magnificent Moments campaign launched with the Ryder Cup Captains' Charity Golf Shot on Sept. 26, 2011; continued with the "Tartan Art on The Avenue" public art exhibit of which the giant golf balls are a part; the "Bagpipes & Blues" international Ryder Cup celebration at the iconic Field Museum; and concludes with the celebrity golf ball auction. All net proceeds of the Magnificent Moments campaign will benefit children and families in the Chicago area, and leave a Ryder Cup legacy long after the Matches depart.
"'Tartan Art on the Avenue' has provided a wonderful exhibit for the people of Chicago and throughout the world to join in on the celebration of the most prestigious events in golf," said Doug Porter, CEO of RMHC-CNI. "We are honored to have this unique collection of golf balls supported by many of Chicago's corporations, professional sports teams, celebrities, athletes and artists. The auction of these one-of-a-kind works of art will raise awareness and important funds for the ongoing works of these two great charities."
The five balls available in the eBay auction include the:
LeRoy Neiman Golf Ball
Renowned for his unique progressive style, Official Ryder Cup artist LeRoy Neiman contributed a historic piece of artwork by completing the very first golf ball sculpture for the Ryder Cup Magnificent Moments Campaign. This one-of-a-kind piece is even mpore special since it turned out to be the artwork Neiman created before his death in June at the age of 91, and will be signed by the players and captains from both teams during the Ryder Cup. Neiman described the ball as an ode to one of his heroes, abstract impressionist Jackson Pollock, and it memorializes Neiman’s vibrant, colorful and energetic images of sporting events.
Michael Jordan Golf Ball – “Jumpman”
Chicago icon and basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan signed a golf ball with his famous “Jumpman” logo. This ball, painted by Chicago artist Ron Jelinek, blends two of Michael’s passions -- golf and basketball.
European Ryder Cup Team Golf Ball – “Great Fighting Spirit”
José María Olazábal, the 2012 European captain, inspired this ball celebrating his team. It features the Ryder Cup and European Ryder Cup logo, and will be signed by each player and captain on the European team. Olazabal collaborated with Chicago artist Susan Kissinger on this piece.
U.S. Ryder Cup Team Golf Ball – “Chronology of Love”
Davis Love III, the 2012 U.S. captain, collaborated with Chicago artist Annamarie Buchanan on a ball that depicts inspirations in his career. They include the U.S. Ryder Cup shield, a father and his son golfing (representing the relationship he had with his famous teaching professional father), the Davis Love Foundation, Davis Love III’s Classic Paddle & Putt, and his collegiate alma mater, the University of North Carolina.
Luke Donald Golf Ball – “European Stars Over Chicago”
European Ryder Cup team member Luke Donald graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Art Theory and Practice and collaborated on his ball with recent Northwestern graduate Morgan Krehbiel. Donald, who still lives in Chicago, has signed the ball, and each European Ryder Cup player and captain will add their autographs during the Ryder Cup.
Each golf ball is three feet in diameter, and sits on a tee. They come with a concrete base and a green acrylic decorative stand that makes each piece six feet tall and weigh 200 pounds.
About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana
Caring for families of children with complex medical needs by providing comfort, compassion, and community, RMHC®-CNI keeps families together in a “home away from home”. RMHC-CNI recently opened the world’s largest Ronald McDonald House® near Lurie Children’s, helping more families than ever before. To learn more, visit http://www.ronaldhousechicago.org/ .
About the Illinois PGA Foundation
The Illinois PGA Foundation serves as the charitable arm of the Illinois Section of The PGA of America, a working association of 850 dedicated golf professionals in Illinois who make golf their vocation and giving back their passion. These men and women understand the critical difference golf can make in the lives of children by sharing the inherent values of honesty, integrity, and confidence, and encouraging sound physical fitness. Their Foundation promotes this goodwill of the game with an emphasis on activities that benefit youth through education and recreation. Learn more at www.IPGA.com/Foundation .