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IN MEMORIAM: Pioneering Black Golf Champ Lee Elder Dies at 87 – Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland 2021-11-30 11:25:07 –

Lee Elder, a golf pioneer and the first black player to play in the Masters, died at the age of 87.

“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 while others are paving the way for big dreams and achievements is a testament to what type of man he was and how talented he was. The tour is deeply grateful to Lee Elder’s career and would like to extend his deepest sympathies to his family. “

Born in Dallas, Texas in 1934, Elder started playing golf to help his parents financially.

He was a caddy at the All-White Tennis Park Golf Club in Dallas, but soon golf pros began allowing elders to play the course.

In 1959, the elder joined the United Golfers Association. In 1959, the elder joined the United Golfers Association and dominated the All Black Group.

According to BlackPast.org, Elder won four Negro National Open Championships and 18 stunning of the 22 tournaments he participated in.

Using these winning purses, the Elder was able to attend the 1967 PGA Tour Qualifying School.

In 1971, the elder made history as the first black player to be invited to a South African PGA Tournament.

“His participation in the event has made it the first integrated sporting event in South Africa since the official apartheid policy was established in 1948,” Black Past researchers write.

However, they further pointed out that elders and other black golfers continue to face racial challenges at home.

“The PGA Tour was officially open to African Americans, but it wasn’t friendly to them. In many tournaments, black golfers couldn’t enter the clubhouse and instead in the parking lot. I had to change clothes and eat, “the researchers write.

In 1975, when invited to the Masters Open, one of the most prestigious golf tournaments, in Augusta, Georgia, the elder once again made history.

With the victory at the 1974 Monsanto Open, Elder automatically qualified for the Masters Open, but was also the first black player to be invited. Unfortunately, the elder missed the tournament qualifying round.

Still, his entry point was an African-American milestone featured in almost every major magazine and news program in the country, Black Press said.

Elder played in five more Masters, won three PGA tournaments, and was named to the 1979 Ryder Cup team.

He has won a total of 12 tournaments on the PGA Tour and Senior Tour, winning over $ 1 million on each tour.

However, his invitation to the Masters in 1975 proved that African Americans could compete in the highest levels of golf, researchers continued.

“Lee Elder is a pioneer and in many ways,” legendary golf champion Jack Nicklaus told Bill Fields in an interview with PGA TOUR.com.

“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 homage to Lee by inviting him to be the honorary starter of this last Masters. That morning you Was able to see joy in Lee’s face, and Gary player and I were honored to enjoy him and the moment. That memory will be remembered for many, including me, in the coming years. It will continue to be special over time.

“Lee was a good player, but most importantly, a good man that countless people have a lot of respect for,” added Nicklaus. “The golf game lost a hero at Lee Elder. Barbara and I express our heartfelt condolences to Lee’s wife Sharon and his entire family.”

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