US Amateur Trophy stolen

The US Amateur Trophy, created in 1926 and retired in 1992, was one of two valuable items stolen from the United States Golf Association museum on Tuesday night.

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The coveted trophy, presented to winners of the prestigious U.S. Amateur championship, was taken along with a replica of Ben Hogan's 1953 Hickok Belt award, acquired by the USGA from the Hogan estate in 1998.

"This is a deplorable incident, but we are thankful for the safety of our staff," the USGA said in a statement on Wednesday.

"These historical artifacts are an important part of our collection and their loss is a great disappointment. We are working closely with the Bernards Township Police Department to aid in their recovery."

The Hickok Belt, featuring a solid gold buckle encrusted with precious stones, was presented to the leading professional athlete of the year in the United States from 1950 until 1976.

Winners include boxers Rocky Marciano (1952) and Muhammad Ali (1974), baseball players Willie Mays (1954), Mickey Mantle (1956) and Sandy Koufax (1963 and 1965) and golfers Arnold Palmer (1960) and Lee Trevino (1971).

Golfing great Hogan, renowned as one of the best ball-strikers of all time, won three of his nine major titles in 1953, an astonishing season in which he triumphed in five of the six tournaments he entered.

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