Twelve years ago Charlie Sifford broke down yet another barrier by becomingthe first African American to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame
On this day, just twelve years ago Charlie Sifford was making history yet again. He became the first African American to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame; A 2004 Hall of Fame class that featured Isao Aoki, and Tom Kite. Sifford broke barriers as the first golfer of color to win an open event, shooting a final-round 64 to win the 1957 Long Beach Open. In 1961, he became the first African American to join the PGA Tour.
Sifford on the PGA Tour
Sifford soon began making history when he became the first African American player to win a PGA Tour event. He did this by besting Steve Opperman in the Greater Hartford Open on August 20th, 1967. He followed that up two years later when he won the 1969 Los Angeles Open in a playoff. Sifford finished his PGA Tour career with two official wins and over 20 pro wins. For instance, he won the UGA National Negro Open six times between 1952-1960.
Siffords Legacy Continues
Its hard to put into words what Sifford did for the African American community in golf. He single handedly broke down golf’s color barrier opening the sport up to generations. He had it tough, and wasn’t treated fairly while having many disadvantages but still managed to win two PGA Tour titles. For his contributions to golf, as a result he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on November 15th, 2004. In 2006 he received a honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews. Just a year later in 2007, he was awarded the Old Tom Morris Award. In 2014 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
Josh Morris is the Editor of Golf History Today. A proud USGA Volunteer and golf enthusiast. In his free time he enjoys being a weekend caddie as well as playing as much as he can.