Decades before Tiger Woods was breaking records on the golf course, Charlie Sifford was breaking barriers. The First Tee joins the country in celebrating Black History Month by highlighting Sifford’s story of perseverance, leadership and integrity.
While his story begins as a caddie in North Carolina, by age 13 Sifford was shooting par golf. From 1952 to 1956 he won the National Negro Open five straight times–all while pushing golf’s color boundaries. In 1960, Sifford became the first African-American player to receive a PGA Player card opening the game to for the first time to non-Caucasians. Being 39 years old, many thought Sifford’s best days of golf were behind him.
This week, the Northern Trust Open (formerly the L.A. Open) is taking place in Pacific Palisades, Calif., a significant tournament that Sifford went on to win in 1969 at the age of 46.
At The First Tee, we believe golf is a game for everyone, regardless of race, gender or age. Sifford’s determination blazed the trail for today’s black junior golfers. Though many will never meet Charlie Sifford, we all benefit from his strength, dignity and refusal to quit.