Happy Birthday Charlie Sifford
On this day, In 1922 Charlie Sifford was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sifford is long remembered to be the first African American to play on the PGA Tour. Golf Legend Lee Trevino was once quoted, “You have to put him in the Jackie Robinson category”. 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.
Sifford on the PGA Tour
Sifford soon began making history when he won the 1967 Greater Hartford Open . He did this by besting Steve Opperman by one stroke, with a final round of 64 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.
Sifford’s Legacy lives on…
- In 2004, Sifford became the first African American inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
- On June 22, 2006, he received an honorary degree from the University of St Andrews as a Doctor of Laws.
- In 2009, the Northern Trust Open created an exemption for a player who represents the advancement of diversity in golf; it is named in honor of Sifford and is referred to as the Charlie Sifford Exemption.
- President Barack Obama awarded him the 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom.