Lee Elder, the first black golfer in the Masters, has died – Tennis Sports

In the week of making golf history as the first African-American to play in the Masters Tournament in 1975, Lee Elder gave a key point to reporters recording the emergence of his milestone. “I don’t want to make a name for myself in history just for this,” he said.

“I was a good golfer, so if I remember, I want to remember.” He played in 448 PGA Tour events, won four times, and then won eight more at the PGA Tour Champions.

The elder, who died early Sunday morning at the age of 87, toured African Americans to overcome difficult childhood and racism and build a successful career in historically unfriendly sports for black players. Endured the long and difficult roads of.

Lee Elder, statement

“I think a lot of people have given up,” the elder said when he turned 34 during the 1968 rookie season. “I don’t think they stabbed it so long.” The 2019 winner of the Bob Jones Awards for Outstanding Sportsmanship, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association, said the white-only provision banned blacks from competing on the American procircuit. He created his game in a few years. American PGA.

The elder turned professional in 1959 and was a United golfer for African-American players two years before the racial ban was removed from the PGA Ordinance under legal pressure from the Attorney General of California, Stanley Mosk. We have embarked on the Z-Association Tournament Trail.

“Wherever they hold a tournament, that’s where we go,” the elder told author Pete McDaniel in “Uneven Lies: The Heroic Story of African-Americans in Golf.” The elder won the UGA Negro National Open four times, and in 1966 won 18 of the 22 starts.

“Lee Elder was born with a lot of patience, determination, courage, and willpower,” wrote Los Angeles Times renowned sports writer Jim Murray in 1975.

Robert Lee Elder was born on July 14, 1934 in Dallas, Texas, the youngest of ten children. His father died during World War II, when Lee was nine years old, and his mother died just three months later. He was taken to his aunt Sarah at the age of 11 and returned to Texas after living in Wichita Falls, Texas and Los Angeles.

“My aunt was a wonderful person,” the elder wrote in the Golf Digest in 2019. Although her resources were limited, she carried herself with great dignity, communicated well with people, and taught me from the wrong place.

I’ve been alone since I was about 16 years old, but she’s now able to take care of me. The elder started playing golf as a caddy and played the first 18-hole round at a club of scavenged golf balls and wooden shafts that he bought at a second-hand store at the age of 16.

He hustled golf games around Dallas and earned money by playing with one foot, knees, or using cross-hand grips. In the end, the elder went out with Hustler’s extraordinary Titanic Thompson. And often disguised as a Thompson caddy, unleashing his unexpected skills to help lighten the purse opposite the duo.

“I’m not really proud of everything I traveled with Ti,” the elder said in the Golf Digest. But it was an interesting life and trained me to deal with the pressure. “

Despite seasoning in high stakes money games, coaching by highly talented African-American golfer Ted Rose, and dominating the UGA tournament, Elder responded to his skills until his successful qualifying in the United States in 1966. It lacked complete belief.

open. The first two days were grouped with Johnny Miller, a confident teenage phenom. The elder made the cut and decided to challenge the PGA Tour Q School the following year. Not only did the elder think he had the game he needed to make it, but he had at least $ 6,500 in the bank, so he had to enroll in school.

Elder, who exceeded 144 holes at the PGA National Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida in October 1967, was one of 30 players on a field of 111 to secure play privileges. Among those who missed were Butch Harmon (24 years old) and Bill Spirer (53 years old).

Spirer was a seasoned black golfer in the 1940s and 1950s and never got a fair shot in big time due to racist policies. “It’s worth noting that we look back on Lee’s life and career and realize that he has endured the hardships and sacrificed him to reach the highest levels of golf,” said Jay Monahan, PGA Tour Commissioner.

“His success is a testament to what type of man he was and how talented he was, while paving the way for others to dream and achieve big dreams. I am deeply grateful to Lee Elder for his career and would like to extend my deepest sympathies to his family. “

Even when the elders began their touring career, accommodation and travel due to prejudice, even if they joined the winners Pete Brown and Charlie Sifford, and other African-Americans who were once banned. It may still be lean. And the racial anima wasn’t on the path of a white-only clause that kept Spirers, Rhodes, and other blacks away from top-level competition.

The elder did not win as a rookie in 1968, but is growing fast on tour, fighting Jack Nicklaus in the nationally aired five-hole playoffs at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. Raised the status as a star of.

“Lee Elder is a pioneer and in many ways,” said Nicklaus. “Yes, he was the first black player to compete in the Masters Tournament, but it simply emphasized the efforts Lee spent to promote the cause of everyone dreaming of playing on the PGA Tour. . Before them.

It was great that the Masters Tournament and Augusta National paid tribute to Lee by inviting him to be the honorary starter for this last Masters. That morning you could see joy in Lee’s face, and Gary Player and I were honored to enjoy the moment with him.

That memory will continue to be special for many years to come, for many, including myself. “Lee was a good player, but most importantly, a good man who was highly respected by countless people,” added Nicklaus. “Golf games lost heroes at Lee Elder.

Barbara and I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Lee’s wife Sharon and her entire family. After finishing 45th on the money list during the rookie campaign (and becoming the first African-American on the cover of the Golf Digest), Elder consistently stayed in the top 60 on the money list for the next decade. I did. This is a requirement for exemption status at that time. ..

He only missed that criterion twice. One of those seasons was in 1975, when his appearance at the Masters was the dominant story after winning an invitation at the 1974 Monsanto Open. His imminent appearance at Augusta National consumed his attention down to the Masters, a period in which he was threatened with many murders.

“Last week I tried to light a pencil,” the then-heavy smoker elder told The Associated Press in Augusta. Pre-tournament pressure provided a perfect drive on the first hole, but the 74 and 78 rounds led to a miscut.

He played five more times in the Masters and was ranked 11th in 1979 at the 1974 PGA Championship to match his best career finish in the majors. The elder finished sixth in THE PLAYERS in 1976.

– Tennis Sports

Lee Elder, the first black golfer in the Masters, has died Lee Elder, the first black golfer in the Masters, has died

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