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:
Posted in Golf News and tagged Charlie Sifford, Charlie Sifford Golf, Charlie Sifford Medal of Freedom, Charlie Sifford PGA, PGA Tour News by Colin GP Mieczkowski with 2 comments.