As far as "War Effort" medals go, the sterling silver 1917 Red Cross "Liberty Tournament" medal from the very first Red Cross War Effort golf tournament is among the most desired. The United States entered World War I with President Woodrow Wilson's declaration of war in April 1917. All sports associations quickly canceled upcoming tournaments. The USGA went a step further and immediately scheduled its first widespread "War Effort" fundraising exhibition tournaments - a practice it would continue throughout World War I and again during World War II. Well, the 1917 Liberty Tournament was where it all started. The USGA organized exhibition matches at 485 of its member clubs to be held on July 4, 1917 - less than 3 months after the declaration of war. Participating in these matches on the 4th of July in 1917 were almost every accomplished golfer of note, including Francis Ouimet, Jim Barnes, Jerome Travers, Chick Evans, Jock Hutchinson, and two young up and coming golfers named Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen.
These 1917 Liberty Tournament medals are known for not being engraved with their recipients, but this is the first example that we have seen that is engraved. It was awarded to "R.W. Southward", likely a local pro competing in (and winning) the July 4, 1917 Red Cross Tournament at Algonquin Golf Club in St. Louis, MO. These are the very first Red Cross "War Effort" medals and deserve a prominent place in any golf history collection. The offered 1917 Red Cross medal is exceptional. Produced by Tiffany & Co. 1 5/16".