Charlie Sifford, the first ever black man to play in the PGA tour, has died aged 92.
Sifford broke barriers when he became the first person of colour to compete in PGA-sanctioned events following the 1961 abolishment of the “white-only” PGA of America’s membership clause. Throughout the world of golf, he was often compared to baseball’s Jackie Robinson, and he went on to win PGA Tour events in 1967 and 1969, as well as the 1975 PGA Seniors’ Championship.
On learning of Sifford’s passing, nine-time USGA champion Tiger Woods tweeted, “Terrible loss for golf and me personally. My grandfather is gone and we all lost a brave, decent and honourable man. I’ll miss u Charlie”.
In 2014, Woods wrote in an email to The Associated Press, “It’s not an exaggeration to say that without Charlie and the other pioneers who fought to play, I may not be playing golf.
“My pop likely wouldn’t have picked up the sport, and maybe I wouldn’t have either.”
In 2004, Sifford became the first African American to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Back in November 2014, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian award in the United States – by President Obama, only the third golfer to receive the award after Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
Born 2 June 1922 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sifford passed away in Cleveland, Ohio – a month after being hospitalised for a stroke – on 3 February 2015.