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Set of golf clubs once used by Tiger Woods sells for record amount

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

As sports fans witnessed this past weekend at the Masters golf tournament, Tiger Woods is still the biggest name in the sport.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: What a return.

CHANG: While he was making his return to the Masters following a devastating car crash, a set of clubs allegedly used by Woods sold for over $5 million. That's a record amount.

DANIEL ESTRIN, HOST:

They aren't magical, although some golf lovers might claim they are - like Jonathan Wall, who writes for GOLF Magazine.

JONATHAN WALL: They are from arguably the most dominant stretch of golf in the history of the game.

CHANG: It's purported that Woods used them to win what's known in golf circles as the Tiger Slam. That's when he won four consecutive major tournaments in the early 2000s. Here's Woods in 2002 speaking about that achievement.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TIGER WOODS: You know, no one's ever done that, not four professional majors. And that's something that I'm very proud of. You can call it what you want.

ESTRIN: Two of the clubs in this particular Titleist brand set have the word tiger imprinted on them. There's no serial number, but Wall says the proof could lie in one of the clubs - the 8-iron.

WALL: As you hit a golf club - especially if you're, like, a Tiger Woods, you're an elite ball striker - you're going to wear out the middle spot. And that seems to be the calling card for these irons because it does have a pretty - I wouldn't say a checkered past, but there are a lot of questions about these irons and their legitimacy.

CHANG: The man who just sold them at auction says he bought the clubs for just $57,000 back in 2010. And there are other indications that the clubs are authentic.

WALL: This isn't just one man's word saying that they used to be owned. He took a polygraph. He passed the polygraph. He's got the sworn affidavit. There's a lot going on here, again, to just prove that these irons are legitimate and they are from Tiger Slam.

CHANG: Wall says there's one important thing missing, though. They have yet to be ID'd by Tiger himself.

WALL: It's difficult to say that they're not Tiger's irons. The real question is whether they were from the Tiger Slam, and that's only something that one person knows - Tiger Woods.

ESTRIN: Come on, Tiger. Let us know if they're real.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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