Arnold Palmer Invitational

Sport’s most unusual prizes!

Sport’s most unusual prizes!

If you think being given a cardigan for winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational is weird, you ain't seen nothing yet

Golf’s top stars will be looking to add to their wardrobes when this tournament tees off in Florida

Arnold Palmer Invitational, from Thursday 15 March, 6pm, Sky Sports Golf/HD (CH 515/505)

Arnold Palmer is as synonymous with golf as Pelé is with football. Not only is he regarded as one of the greatest and most charismatic players of all time, it’s generally understood that no one did more to popularise golf than the late Arnie.

This month’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Florida’s Bay Hill is one of the most star-studded events in the golf calendar. Not only will the winner get a big ol’ cheque, they’ll also be presented with a replica of Palmer’s iconic red cardigan!
 

As it’s an invitational, the cream of the crop will be out in force when play gets underway. Rory McIlroy will be challenging for his third straight year, but he’ll have it tough against a field packed with serious talent. Tiger Woods has just confirmed he'll be back in action, so it could be a fruitful hunting ground for the eight-time winner…
 

But if you think a fetching piece of knitwear is sport’s weirdest prize, feast your eyes on this lot…

 

1. A jewelled dagger

Jewelled ceremonial dagger

With the Masters awarding a jacket, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational bestowing a cardigan, golf’s Trophée Hassan II in Morocco instead opts for… a jewelled ceremonial dagger. When Welshman Rhys Davis won it 2010, he had to have a special letter of dispensation from the Moroccan Royal Family so he could bring the weapon on board the plane for his return flight home.
 

2. A grandfather clock

NASCAR goes a little leftfield with the prizes they award to winners. Kentucky Speedway gives away jukeboxes, New Hampshire Motor Speedway does live lobsters, but it’s Martinsville Speedway that trumps them all. They give their victors a full-sized grandfather clock. They’ve been given to race champions for more than 50 years, and it’s now one of the sport’s most treasured trophies. Although you probably wouldn’t need to win it twice.
 

3. A cow

Lindsey Vonn with a cow

“Don’t have a cow!” is not only Bart Simpson’s favourite catchphrase, but also – as it transpires – decent advice for award presentations. Alpine ski races often award animals to winners, but it’s mostly symbolic. That was until Lindsey Vonn was offered a live calf or $5,000 at France’s Val d’Isère. In case you hadn’t guessed, Vonn took the calf, much to the organiser’s dismay. The cow was worth $20,000, which is mooooo-re than shrewd on Vonn’s part.
 

4. Bananas

Cyclists love bananas. They contain potassium to help replenish electrolytes lost through sweating, plus carbs for topping up energy levels. But nobody loves bananas quite as much as the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, as the winner of the first stage in Alanya receives a few kilograms of them. That might not seem too a-peeling, but it makes sense as the city is Turkey’s main producer of the fruit with around 40,000 tons a year.
 

5. Milk and rosewater

Takuma Sato after winning the 2017 Indy 500

You may associate great sporting victories with champagne, but that’s not always the case. Indianapolis 500 winners are handed a bottle of milk, where they’ll take one swig before pouring the rest over their head (they even have to specify their milk preference before racing). Meanwhile, in Bahrain, while drinking alcohol isn’t illegal, drinking it outside is prohibited. So the Formula 1 race instead uses a non-alcoholic rosewater drink known as Waard for the traditional victory spraying.
 

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