Charlie Sifford

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Charlie Sifford
— Golfer —
Personal information
Full name Charles L. Sifford
Born (1922-06-02) June 2, 1922 (age 92)
Charlotte, North Carolina
Nationality  United States
Residence Shaker Heights, Ohio
Career
Turned professional 1948
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Champions Tour
Professional wins 22
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 2
Champions Tour 1
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament DNP
U.S. Open T21: 1972
The Open Championship DNP
PGA Championship T33: 1965
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 2004 (member page)
Old Tom Morris Award 2007
Presidential Medal
of Freedom
2014

Charles L. Sifford (born June 2, 1922) is an African American former professional golfer who helped to desegregate the PGA of America.

Sifford was born in Charlotte, North Carolina and currently resides in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He began work as a caddy at the age of thirteen. Later he competed in the golf tournaments that black golfers organized for themselves as they were excluded from the PGA of America, and worked as a personal golf coach for band leader Billy Eckstine. He first attempted to qualify for a PGA Tour event at the 1952 Phoenix Open, using an invitation obtained by former World heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis and was subjected to threats and racial abuse there and at other tournaments. In 1957 he won the Long Beach Open, which was not an official PGA Tour event, but was co-sponsored by the PGA and had some well known white players in the field.[1] He became a member of the Tour in 1961 and went on to win two official money events. He also won the 1975 PGA Seniors' Championship, then the leading tournament for golfers over fifty.

In 2004, Sifford became the first African American inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.[2] He chose fellow Hall of Fame member South African Gary Player to present him for induction. On June 22, 2006, he received an honorary degree from the University of St Andrews as a Doctor of Laws. He also received the 2007 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA's highest honor.

In 2009, the Northern Trust Open created an exemption for a player who represents the advancement of diversity in golf; it is named in honor of Sifford and is referred to as the Charlie Sifford Exemption.[3]

In 2011 Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation renamed Revolution Park Golf Course to Dr. Charles L. Sifford Golf Course at Revolution Park.[4]

President Barack Obama awarded him the 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom.[5]

Professional wins[edit]

PGA Tour wins[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner-up
1 Aug 20, 1967 Greater Hartford Open Invitational –12(69-70-69-64=272) 1 stroke United States Steve Oppermann
2 Jan 12, 1969 Los Angeles Open –8 (63-71-71-71=276) Playoff South Africa Harold Henning

PGA Tour playoff record (1–0)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 1969 Los Angeles Open South Africa Harold Henning Won with birdie on first extra hole

Other wins (12)[edit]

  • 1952 UGA National Negro Open
  • 1953 UGA National Negro Open
  • 1954 UGA National Negro Open
  • 1955 UGA National Negro Open
  • 1956 UGA National Negro Open, Rhode Island Open
  • 1957 Long Beach Open
  • 1960 UGA National Negro Open, Almaden Open (unofficial win - one year prior to becoming a PGA Tour event)
  • 1963 Puerto Rico Open
  • 1971 Sea Pines
  • 1975 Northern Ohio PGA Championship

Senior PGA Tour wins[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of victory Runner-up
1 Nov 16, 1980 Suntree Classic –9 (70-71-71-67=279) 4 strokes United States Don January

Other senior wins (7)[edit]

Results in major championships[edit]

Tournament 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
U.S. Open T32 T46 DNP T43 DNP 27 CUT DNP DNP T32 DNP
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T33 DNP DNP T59 CUT
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980
U.S. Open DNP T49 T21 CUT 60 CUT DNP DNP CUT DNP DNP
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T48 DNP CUT DNP DNP CUT

Note: Sifford never played in the Masters Tournament nor The Open Championship.

DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Yellow background for top-10

References[edit]

  1. ^ Glenn, Rhonda (February 7, 2012). "A Hard Road to Golf Glory". USGA. 
  2. ^ "Sifford set to break another barrier: World Golf Hall of Fame will welcome first black member". MSNBC. Associated Press. November 13, 2004. Archived from the original on November 14, 2004. 
  3. ^ "Sifford Exemption 'out of this world'". ESPN. Associated Press. February 2, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Dr. Charles L. Sifford Golf Course at Revolution Park". Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  5. ^ "President Obama Announces the Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients". The White House. November 10, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Britt, Grant (1998). Charlie Sifford. Great Athletes. Morgan Reynolds. ISBN 978-1883846275. 
  • Sifford, Charlie (1992). Just Let Me Play: The Story of Charlie Sifford, the First Black PGA Golfer. British Amer Pub Ltd. ISBN 978-0945167440. 
  • Sounes, Howard (2004). The Wicked Game: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and the Story of Modern Golf. William Morrow. ISBN 0-06-051386-1. 

External links[edit]