Golf legend, Charlie Sifford to receive Medal of Freedom

 

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Golf legend Charlie Sifford will receive a high honor from the White House. Charlie will receive the Medal of Freedom for helping break the PGA Tour color barrier in 1961. The award is the highest honor in the country for a civilian.

Although legendary boxer Joe Louis played a huge part in desegregating golf, Charlie was the first to play on the PGA Tour on a regular basis and play well at the same time. He had to endure the stressful time of segregation and had to deal with racism and received threats.

One incident was when he received a phone call just before the second round of the Greater Greensboro Open when a white man with a southern accent called him and threatened him.

“I couldn’t solve anything by violence. It would just ensure that all blacks, beginning with me, would be permanently barred from the tour.” Charlie said of the incident. 

Yet, he overcame it all and became the first black player on the PGA Tour and opened the door to diversity in the sport of golf. Not only did he desegregate golf, he had a very solid resume, winning 22 professional tournaments including the Los Angeles Open and the legendary Hartford Open Invitational (Now known as the popular Travelers Championship) winning those in a two-year period of time.

He also won a major championship and the Senior PGA in 1975. He then got inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004 making him the first African-American to be inducted. He received the Old Tom Morris award in 2007 for his contributions to the game and sportsmanship on the course.

His swing was one of the most unusual looking yet fluid in golf history. He tends to swing with his right elbow lower than most on the backswing and he’ll extend his arms on the follow through. This has helped him excellently on short game shots as he was one of the best to do it.

Whether it was a pitch, chip, etc, you knew he was going to get it close to the pin or in the hole. Just a magician with the clubs and that’s why he won 22 titles.

He had two top 35 finishes at the majors with T33rd finish at the 1965 PGA Championship at Laurel Valley Golf Club and finished tied for 21st at the 1972 U.S. Open which was the first major ever held at Pebble Beach. He’s definitely one of my all-time favorite golf legends. He played the game right, he persevered over the odds, and gave him two great victories on a Tour that was very segregated.

Here’s a quote from President Obama. Thanks to GolfChannel.com for sharing:

“I look forward to presenting these nineteen bold, inspiring Americans with our Nation’s highest civilian honor,” President Barack Obama said. “From activists who fought for change to artists who explored the furthest reaches of our imagination; from scientists who kept America on the cutting edge to public servants who help write new chapters in our American story, these citizens have made extraordinary contributions to our country and the world.”

Tiger Woods took to Twitter to thank the man who he called grandpa.

Despite the design of the course, Charlie nailed those crooked fairways right. Down. The. Middle. Thank you Charlie for opening up the doors for minorities in this great sport. You are truly, a legend.

Charlie is only the third golfer to receive such a high honor. The other two were Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Charlie as well as the other 18 well deserved winners will be honored at the White House on November 24th, 2014.

Hit me up on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio!

Credit: GolfChannel.com

             ESPN.com


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Black History Month: The Story of the Greatest African American Golfer You Probably Don’t Remember

calvin 2

It’s Black History Month for at least another week so I feel that it’s time for a tribute. African-Americans built this great country and built some of the country’s greatest inventions and on the golf side of things, an African-American man created one of the most important little tools in the sport. The tee. The little object that helps us take that first important swing on each hole. George Franklin Grant invented the tee back in the 1800’s and was also Harvard’s first ever black professor as well as a Boston dentist. Some speculate that George was not the inventor of the tee and that nobody really knows who invented it but he’s widely regarded as the true inventor and created the wooden tee. However, the man I want to talk about is the man who is one of the greatest golfers of all-time and the greatest black golfer in history not named Tiger Woods. This man is Calvin Peete.

Calvin was born in Detroit, Michigan and showed up on the PGA Tour in 1975 and had a very solid career winning 13 tournaments, 12 of them on the PGA Tour and one on the Japan Tour. He also has had an impressive showing in the majors with 23 cuts made, 13 top 25s four top 10s, three top 5s and placed 3rd one time at the 1982 PGA Championship. He was also in the top 10 in the World Golf Rankings for several weeks during his tenure. He is also known as one of the best players in the 80’s as he won an impressive four tournaments in one year in 1982 when he went on a tear and even won two tournaments by a whopping seven strokes and was the same year he nearly won the PGA Championship. His 1982 performance is one of the most dominant performances in a single year by a player in the history of the game and if he won the PGA Championship then that would have really been something.

He is also without a doubt, one of the greatest, if not, the greatest control player in PGA Tour history with an astonishing 10 straight years of leading the PGA Tour in fairways hit. Most Tour pros learn the game at a very young age, but not Calvin. Calvin picked up the game at the age of 23 and never looked back. Before he got into the game, Calvin simply thought it was a sport for retired rich white dudes that liked smacking little white balls around like a lot of us (Including myself) thought before we fell in love with the sport. He had a horrible accident at his grandma’s house when he was 12 years old when he attempted to climb a cherry tree and grabbed a branch that eventually broke causing to fall and break his let elbow and that has to be one of the worst injuries because it feels so awkward and weird when you hit your elbow and that’s why it’s called the “funny bone”.

Although he did get surgery on the elbow, it just wasn’t the same however it very well could have been a huge part to his smooth swing and accuracy. Legendary golf coach Butch Harmon once said of Calvin’s swing, “Calvin had beautiful rhythm and tempo, and because his elbow was fused he was able to create a swing path that allowed him to return the club to the same position at impact.”. Since wasn’t a power hitter much at all and since the injured elbow actually helped him become one of the most accurate hitters in golf history, one has to wonder. If he didn’t injure his elbow, could he have become a power hitter on Tour and not be as accurate? It’s very possible that he could have been one of the best power hitters on Tour but I don’t think it would be on the caliber of his accuracy because he was out of his mind when it came to nailing fairways. Probably, the most heart breaking part of his story is when his mother dropped him off at her mother’s house and only visited him once before she never returned again.

I mean, imagine never seeing your mom again after she only visited you once? Despite that, Calvin went through with his life with his grandmother until the golf God’s gave him a gift at the magical age of 23 when he learned the game when he played on the public course at Genesee Valley Park in Rochester, New York where he was peddling goods to migrant workers. Calvin’s greatest victory came at the Players Championship in 1985 and interestingly enough, he won the tournament while dealing with Tourette’s syndrome which causes the mind to view things in opposite directions and apparently, Calvin had this syndrome his whole life and started to get to him more later in his golf career.”It was like my right became my left and my ups became my downs,” said Peete. “When I was playing golf, I’d think ‘fade’ and then hook the ball.” So, what did he do to fight off this issue? Reverse psychology of course! The result helped him win what many today consider golf’s fifth major at the Players.

Johnny Miller once noted that “He and Curtis Strange were the best golfers in America in the 80’s”. The one thing that I really love about Calvin is that he tries to get many kids in black communities to get into the sport and I absolutely love that because the one thing that golf definitely needs is diversity and that’s what’s really going to help bring the whole world into this great sport. So, let this be a reminder of a time where there was a black man who dominated a mostly white man sport and drove the ball with pure accuracy down any fairway in the world and although he had challenges to face growing up, he overcame it all to have a wonderful career on the PGA Tour and any black golfer that steps on the course today will walk the fairways and there will be a shadow, and that shadow would be of the legendary Calvin Peete. Calvin and his wife Pepper reside in Jacksonville, Florida where Pepper is the manager of The First Tee of Jacksonville.

Credit for all quotes: The Sand Trap

Have a story you want to share about “Mr. Accuracy”? Did you get a chance to meet him? Maybe you saw or heard an interesting interview on TV or on the radio? Leave your thoughts below! Would love to hear them! Also, don’t forget to share this article with family and friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites!


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Fred Couples on Michael Jordan on the golf course: “He excels at beating me”

CTH Michael Jordan Ryder Cup Golf Ball Signing

Well, it looks like the great Fred Couples has lost to another great in Michael Jordan on the course. It’s definitely surprising because we knew MJ was goo but that good? Jeez homie that’s impressive! According to givemesport.com, Fred said that MJ “has skills” and said that he excels when it comes to “winning, betting and beating me”. Both legends are good friends and Michael has been an assistant captain for the U.S. President’s Cup team a couple of times as well as being a part of an event like the Ryder Cup. I’ve always liked MJ and yes, there’s no debate, he’s the greatest basketball player of all-time because he would take Bill Russell to school and then pick him up after class too for those who say Bill Russell was the greatest.

For anyone who isn’t a professional golfer to beat a hall of famer like Freddie Couples is very impressive. Then again, Michael has played golf for so long now, he’s probably a pro in his own right but then again you can say the same about NFL legend Jerry Rice who played golf throughout his whole football career and still unfortunately couldn’t make it through the Web.com Tour. The way Freddie said MJ excels at “beating me” makes it sound as if he beats him in a lot of things but knowing MJ, he’s an incredible competitor and never backs down. To me, he has as close of a place in our hearts in basketball as he does in golf. He’s been a huge supporter of golf and I have to say I’m very glad he’s a part of this great sport. You the man MJ!

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A GP Golf Report Quickie: Simple Tips for Good Putting

Ben Crenshaw is Widely Considered the Greatest Putter of All-Time.

Ben Crenshaw is Widely Considered the Greatest Putter of All-Time.

An Example of a Mallet Putter. This is the Same Exact Putter I Use by Top Flite.

An Example of a Mallet Putter. This is the Same Exact Putter I Use by Top Flite.

Hey all, as we know, putting is the most important aspect of golf but is also one of the trickiest especially when you’re facing tough greens. Don’t you want to feel good after making a beautiful long putt as the ball rolls into the cup? Of course you do! Here are some basic things to know when on the greens. First off, and this is a no brainer, always try to read the greens to see where the slope is on the green so that way you get where you need to aim your putt. This doesn’t guarantee that you make the putt but you will likely get it close with the right amount if touch. Another thing I found out that was good is trying to take a shorter backswing on your putting stroke so this way, you don’t accidentally move your hands which will take your backswing off plane.

While taking this short backswing, make sure your follow through is longer since you had a shorter backswing and this will help on longer putts. This is why mallet looking putters have the line on the top of them to help you line up your putt and to keep your stroke on line on your follow through. Finally, it’s always a good strategy to aim past the hole because if you are just aiming directly at the hole, then you may hit it too soft, coming up short, after all, putting is a state of mind. When you aim past the hole then your mind will tell you to hit past the hole which will give you enough power to hit a putt that will roll right in the cup but aim just right behind the hole, not way past the hole.

Enjoy the article? don’t hesitate to like this post or follow my blog for more golf pieces! Have a question or comment? Feel free to email me at colinm5598@yahoo.com or follow me on Twitter: @ChiGolfRadio


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Where is Phil Ranked Among the All-Time Greats?

Phil Mickelson: A True Golfing Legend

Phil Mickelson: A True Golfing Legend

Phil is Also One of the Classiest Players in the Game.

Phil is Also One of the Classiest Players in the Game.

Phil Mickelson, known by his famous nickname as “Lefty”, has really put himself in the same list as some of golf’s all-time greats such as Billy Casper, Byron Nelson, and Lee Trevino. Why did I mention those players specifically you might ask? Because Phil has two more majors than Billy, as many as Byron and is only one behind Lee, so he’s in the same boat as those guys who are all legendary names. Phil is also a hall of famer like those guys too. So, where does “Lefty” rank among the greats in the game? He has five majors, 51 wins worldwide, 42 of those on the PGA Tour where he ranks ninth all-time in wins, is one of the best short game players in golf history and is a hall of famer. I probably wouldn’t say he’s in the top 10 but, if he can get maybe one or two more majors or get at least 5 more wins on his resume then I’ll throw him in the top 10 without question. Hes a top 15 player though, there’s no question about that.

He’s been an all around type of player his whole career whether it’s his great driving ability, ball striking, recovery and chip and pitching game, he has been top notch. We have also seen him make some amazing putts and recovery shots because how can we not forget that incredible shot he made on the 13th at Augusta in 2010? That was a fun Masters too that featured a charging Anthony Kim (Where are you AK?). He’s so close to being top 10, its like a putt you hit that stops right by the lip of the cup (That’s when you either A. hope the wind blows it in or B. swing your club right round right round! While making angry screaming sounds that nobody can understand).
Phil has what it takes to be not only top 10 but top five. Who else has been better than him the past 10 years other than that Tiger Woods dude? I’d have to say nobody.

The closest to him would be fellow World Golf Hall of Fame member Ernie Els who has two majors in the past 11 years as to where Phil has all five of his majors just in the past 10 years. Simply remarkable when you look at it, he won THREE Masters in one decade including a PGA Championship title while getting his first Open Championship this past weekend which was his first of the new decade (2010 to 2020). For him to dominate as a left handed golfer for all these years is amazing considering you don’t see left handed golfers as often on Tour. So, on that impressive note (for Phil, not me), I think Mr.Mickelson is 11th all-time on my greatest golfers list. Where do YOU rank arguably the greatest left handed golfer of our time? You have FIVE SECONDS to decide, no I’m just kidding!


Feel free to email me at: colinm5598@yahoo.com or Follow me on Twitter: @ChiGolfRadio


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How 2K Can Make the Greatest Golf Game of All-Time

2K Sports' World Famous Logo

2K Sports’ World Famous Logo

The EA Sports World Famous Logo

The EA Sports World Famous Logo

2K Sports has created terrific sports games such the legendary NBA 2K games and the popular NFL 2K which are no longer around and now, their latest project is WWE 2K14, will release in October and seems like it will be fantastic with the physics that 2K uses on their games. The “Links” golf series was a product of Take Two Interactive and was a very popular game but was overshadowed by the success of EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour Series which has become a major mainstream success, not only in America but in the world. If 2K can make a golf game then it can really battle with the Tiger Woods series because, think about the endless possibilities of features 2K can have as well as throwing that incredible world famous 2K physics and mechanics into the game. 2K can easily define the beauty of golf through a video game made by them. One of the things I hear a lot is that they don’t have the PGA or PGA Tour license (PGA and PGA Tour are two separate things for those of you that are new to the game of golf) because EA has it and now EA has Augusta National in the game (Tiger 14 is a great game). Really though, 2K does NOT need the PGA or PGA Tour license to make a high quality golf game. If the game doesn’t have any bugs and it the gameplay mechanics are beautiful which 2K is terrific at doing then it will be a great game. Besides, there are SO many other legendary courses that aren’t licensed with the PGA Tour like Carnoustie in Scotland, Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Illinois and Pine Valley Golf Club. Speaking of Pine Valley, that reminds me, EA doesn’t have a license with Pine Valley GC which means 2K can try and take advantage of having the former NO.1 ranked course (Now, 2nd behind Augusta) in the world in the game.

A Screenshot from Links 204, the Latest and Last Version of the Game.

A Screenshot from Links 2004, the Latest and Last Version of the Game.

That will bring fun competition to the video game world and will give golf fans the chance to choose between EA, the game with Augusta, or 2K, the game with Pine Valley. That would be a very fun thing to go by for customers and would make a great advertisement. As for players, almost nobody uses players in the Tiger Woods game because everyone wants to use their created golfer. The only exception is this year’s game which features some of the greatest legends in golf history such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Seve Ballesterios. The legends they didn’t include were Gene Sarazen, Walter Hagen, and Byron Nelson. Those are legends that can easily be featured in 2K’s golf game and those, alone are some very good players and some other players that can be featured are Payne Stewart, Nick Faldo and Harry Vardon. That’s six already, just add Old and Young Tom Morris and possibly Chi Chi Rodriguez (Not a major winner but he has hall of fame numbers, mostly coming from the Champions Tour however) and you have nine popular legends right there, can’t keep Billy Casper out either. The mechanics of a 2K golf game would be incredible so I don’t understand why they can’t make a golf game or could have just continued the “Links” series under their license. In all honesty, it’s boring to see no competition out on the market when it comes to golf video games and a much as I enjoy the Tiger Woods series, I am a huge fan of 2K Sports and they do such a great job with the NBA 2K series that I feel it’s time for them to make a game that will truly put the realism of their games to the test because no sport shows the combination of art, beauty and drama like this game we all love called golf. The courses, and designs would fit perfectly with 2K sports’ style and vibe.

The soundtrack could be a variety as there’s no specific music for golf, like there is for football (Hip Hop & Rock), baseball (Mostly Rock but a little Hip Hop), basketball (Mostly Hip Hop but a little bit of Rock) or hockey ( All Rock but maybe a tad bit of Hip Hop every once in awhile). Golf has different styles and 2K is known for creating amazing soundtracks so the possibilities are endless when it comes to music in 2K’s golf game. The game could bring back the “Links” name and call it “Links 2K14 (Or 15)” as well making sound unique instead of just “Golf 2K14” but then again they can take a certain player and name it “John Daly’s Golf 2K14” as an example (Got to love JD) but the reason why the “PGA Tour” isn’t featured in the title because as I mentioned earlier, the PGA Tour license is in the Tiger Woods game. I hope 2K would really take this idea into consideration because it gets tiring seeing no other authentic golfing games out there on the market and I feel 2K would be the best fit for having golf on their repertoire of games because they’re lacking games right now after getting rid of the NHL 2K series, College Hoops Series and the NFL 2K series. So now, I think it’s time for a savior 2K because the MLB 2K games are getting blown away by MLB the Show series so I think a 2K golf game could actually be competitive out there and would make a lot of golf fans happy.

2K can make this happen and I think now’s the time especially when we are in a unique time in the sport as more players are winning majors and a more diverse group of players are coming out of college. Dear 2K Sports, the time is NOW. Make the greatest golf game to hit the market, AT LEAST propose the idea. There’s no better time than now to make a great golf game with deep fresh features and fresh new legends and courses while also having a deep customization feature. A course creator idea would also be amazing. If a course creator is made then the sales will sky rocket because that is a highly demanded feature in golf video games. Golf gamers everywhere are counting on you 2K. Your friend, Colin.

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