Jordan Spieth has a good head on his shoulders.
It's more soundly built, at least, than the loose-necked noggin on his miniature likeness, which the golf world first caught sight of in 2014.
At that year's John Deere Classic, Spieth arrived as the defending champion, and tournament organizers feted the young star with the ultimate sporting honor: a giveaway of a reported 200 Spieth bobblehead dolls.
The figurines were distributed almost exclusively to children, but capitalism being what it is, a number of them eventually found their way onto eBay, where they have been selling for up to $500, record-breaking gets for golfer bobbleheads. This past week, one of the seven-inch-tall dolls posted with an asking price of $799.99.
“No individual golfer has had a bobblehead sell for anywhere near what Spieth’s have been selling for,” says Phil Skar, a bobblehead aficionado from Milwaukee.
(Together, with his business partner Brad Novak, Sklar, 31, has amassed a stockpile of some 3,000 bobbleheads, an army large enough to overwhelm a bedroom in his condo, spilling into his office, his garage and a rented storage space. So vast is Sklar and Novak’s collection, and so deep is their love for it, that the two men plan to build a permanent home for it: the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. They’ve yet to sign a lease, but they’re angling to open next year in a 10,000-square-foot space in downtown Milwaukee.)
To be fair, golf has been slow to embrace the bobblehead. There’s an Arnold Palmer bobblehead (one sold at auction in 2013 for $179.99) and a Fuzzy Zoeller ($159.95, in 2012). And in 2009, in the wake of Tiger Woods’ infamous Escalade accident, a “Tame the Tiger” doll appeared, dressed in a red shirt and holding a Florida license plate, a golf club slamming across his bobble head.
But to Sklar’s knowledge, there has never been a bobblehead of Ben Hogan, and he’s never seen one of Jack Nicklaus, which is odd, because, as Sklar says, “by now, pretty much every [brand-name athlete] has been made into a bobblehead.”
Sklar has not yet added a Spieth bobblehead to his own collection, which begs the question, how much would he be willing to pay for one?
“The market for it is pretty inflated at the moment,” he says. “But if he keeps doing well . . .”
His voice trailed off.
Like bobbleheads themselves, every bobblehead collector has his price.