Sewsunker Sewgolum

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Sewsunker "Papwa" Sewgolum
Personal information
Born 1930
Died 6 July 1978(1978-07-06) (aged 47–48)
Height 5 ft 4 in (163 cm)
Nationality  South Africa
Residence Natal Province, South Africa
Spouse Suminthra
Children 5
Status Professional
Professional wins 6
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament DNP
U.S. Open DNP
The Open Championship 13th: 1963
PGA Championship DNP

Sewsunker "Papwa" Sewgolum (OIS) (1930 – 6 July 1978) was a South African professional golfer of ethnic Indian origin, who carved a niche for himself in golfing folklore when he became the first golfer of colour to win a provincial open in South Africa. He became a symbol of the sports boycott movement when pictures of him receiving his trophy outdoors in the rain, because, due to apartheid, he was not allowed to enter the clubhouse, were published across the world.

Early life[edit]

Sewgolum married Suminthra. The pair had five children together.


He took part in the 1959 Open Championship at Muirfield, in Scotland, won that year by Gary Player.[1] In the qualifying round for that tournament, he shot a seventy-one.[2] In 1961, he was the first non-white to take part in the South African Open and in the same even in 1963, he lost by one shot to Retief Waltman.[1] Sewgolum, a former caddie, with his wrong-way-round grip (left hand beneath his right) caused a stir in 1963 when he beat 103 white golfers including Harold Henning in the provincial Natal Open tournament at the Durban Country Club.[1][3]:264 In 1965 he beat Gary Player to win the title for the second time.[4] He would return in February 1966, to defend his 1965 Natal Open win but would finish in fourth place with a score of 292, losing to Gary Player's score of 286.[5] In February 1966, Sewgolum took part in South African Open at the Houghton Golf Club.[6] He had rounds of 78 and 73 but failed to make the cut for the last two rounds, with Gary Player winning the title.[6] He also won the Dutch Open in 1959, 1960 and 1964, and the Cock of the North tournament in Zambia in 1964.[3]:264 He was the winner of a number of non-white golfing championships in South Africa.

Honours and awards[edit]

  • Sewgolum received a posthumous achievement award from President Thabo Mbeki in 2003, the Silver Medal in the Order of Ikhamanga.[3]:264
  • Durban has a golf course named after him. The Papwa Sewgolum Municipal Golf Course is an 18-hole flat woodland course situated in the suburb of Reservoir Hills. The 13th hole of the golf course is being moved to allow creation of an Ashes Disposal Centre.
  • Film: Papwa: The Lost Dream of a South African Golfing Legend (2005)[7]


  1. ^ a b c Vlismas, Michael (2012). The Extraordinary Book of South African Golf. Penguin UK. ISBN 9780143529729. 
  2. ^ Corcoran, Michael (2010). Duel in the Sun: Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus in the Battle of Turn. Simon and Schuster. p. 224. ISBN 9781439141922. 
  3. ^ a b c Mallon, Bill; Jerris, Randon (2011). Historical Dictionary of Golf. Scarecrow Press. p. 864. ISBN 9780810874657. 
  4. ^ "Gary Player Ties for Second". The New York Times. AP. 20 February 1966. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  5. ^ "Player Shoots a 72 for 286 To Take South African Golf". The New York Times. AP. 7 February 1966. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Gary Player Keeps South African Title". The New York Times. Reuters. 1 February 1965. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  7. ^

External links[edit]