Golf Legend Charlie Sifford Passes Away at Age 92

Picture courtesy of Getty Images

Picture courtesy of Getty Images


According to ABC 5 in Cleveland, On Feburary 3rd, 2015, golf legend Charlie Sifford has passed away at the age of 92. Charlie was highly recognized for breaking the color barrier in this sport we love very much.


Charlie’s beginnings in golf began as a caddie at age 13 and eventually worked his way into playing the game. He began playing on black only golf tours and started working with musician Billy Eckstein as his personal golf coach.


Under legendary boxer and great golf enthusiast, Joe Louis, Charlie was able to compete in his first PGA Tour tournament at the 1952 Phoenix Open. He then went on to win the 1957 Long Beach Open, this before joining the Tour officially.


Finally, he made it to the Tour in 1961 and overcame all odds by winning two tournaments. In just six years, he won the Greater Hartford Open Invitational in 1967. Just two years later, he won the Los Angeles Open at the Rancho Park Golf Course (Now the Northern Trust Open at Riviera).


He then went on to have a terrific career by winning 22 professional wins globally. This included a major championship at the 1975 PGA Seniors’ Championship.


His amazing resume of accolades include:


The Old Tom Morris Award from the GCSAA


An honorary degree from the University of St. Andrews as a Doctor of Laws


The Northern Trust Open (L.A. Open when Charlie won it) created a diversity exemption in 2009 in honor of Charlie. 


The well designed Revolution Park Golf Course was renamed to Dr. Charles L. Sifford Golf Course at Revolution Park in honor of the legend. 


– Induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004


– And likely, his greatest achievement, receiving the Medal of Freedom from President Obama just back in November. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer are the only other golfers to get such a high honor. 


It’s amazing. You and I were just talking about Charlie getting the Medal of Freedom award just a short few months ago. We were so happy he got the award and it makes us happy to see that he was around to get into the hall of fame and get the Medal of Freedom.


Charlie opened the door for golfers of all race to come play this great game. He did it with passion and he never let anything get in his way.


Sometimes we don people as legends, sometimes heroes. Well, Charlie was both a legend and a hero and he’ll never be forgotten for the sacrifices he made to make our little sport, a better sport to play, watch and talk about, that much better.


We wouldn’t have ever seen players like Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Nancy Lopez, Lee Trevino, Chi Chi Rodriguez, or Calvin Peete, if it weren’t for the wall Charlie Sifford demolished to get to the door of freedom.


Personally, as a minority myself, I don’t think I’d ever be writing about golf if it weren’t for Mr.Sifford.


Thank you Charlie for everything you did and we already dearly miss you sir. You opened the door for all of us and showed us the light.


May you play some of the finest golf courses in the sky. You deserve it.


Rest in Peace Mr. Sifford.


Here’s a terrific video of the story courtesy of ABC 5 Cleveland:







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Colin GP Mieczkowski

Colin Mieczkowski is the Editor-in-chief of the award winning GP Golf Report. He hails from Chicago,IL and is a big Chicago sports fan (Except the Cubs, sorry. Chi Sox baby). His writing journey began when he used to write in his notebook and write free verse poems. Later, he created a blog that covered Chicago sports, golf and video games (Weird combination) but decided to just focus on his main passion of golf. That's when the GP Golf Report was born and since its humble beginnings, the blog has reached well over 100,000 unique visitors and continues to grow. He also has built a love for golf course design and is a lover of "Street Golf" which is practically how he picked up the game. Colin is also a video game YouTuber as well. He goes by the name "GhostPanda" on there. You can click the YouTube symbol to check him out. Follow him on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio and add him as a friend on Facebook!

Posted in Golf News and tagged , , , , by with 2 comments.

Charlie  Sifford did win the Los Angeles Open, but it was when the tournament was at Rancho Park Golf Course, a difficult municipal course. He beat Harold Henning of South Africa in a one hole playoff on the 15th hole.

Rancho had a hole that was 464 yards uphill with a steep upslope in front of the green. The pros had to hit fairway woods and carry their shots into the green. Some didn't reach it. They played it as the 2nd hole. It normally played as the 11th hole. The 17th hole was a par 3 of 230 something when the tees were back. Many pros hit woods into it.

Rancho was always the site of the last round in the Los Angeles City Championship - with good reason. With the tees all of the way back, it played over 7,000 yards - when balls were wound and woods were really made of wood.

Like Riviera, Rancho required keeping the ball in play - being able to hit your woods straight, no matter what else you did. Charlie Sifford did that.

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