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Lee Elder, first Black golfer to play at Masters, dies at 87 – Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon 2021-11-29 13:12:25 –

Lee Elder, who broke the racial barrier as the first black golfer to play in the Masters and paved the way for Tiger Woods and others, died at the age of 87.

PGA Tour Announced the death of the elder first reported on Monday Debert Cook Of an African-American golfer digest. The cause and details were not immediately known, but the tour confirmed the death of the elder’s family.

Elder, a native Texas caddy who developed the game in an isolated era, made history at Augusta National in 1975. Augusta National was a pure white tournament until it won the Monsanto Open last year and was invited.

The elder missed the cut in his first Masters, but forever imprinted himself as a breakthrough in sports that was not known for his racial tolerance.

Twenty-two years later, Woods became the first black golfer to win a green jacket and began one of the greatest careers in golf history.

In April of this year, in the wake of a protest of social justice that caused a sensation in the country, Masters praised the elders We had Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player join us for the opening tee shot of the ceremony.

The elder was ill and couldn’t swing, but he proudly lifted the driver on his first tee and was clearly impressed at that moment.

“For me and my family, I think it was one of the most emotional experiences I have ever witnessed or been involved with,” he said.

Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and Masters, called Elder “a true pioneer in golf games.”

“We are deeply saddened to know Lee Elder’s death,” Ridley said in a statement. “Lee inspired so many colored young men and women through his play, as well as his education and community commitment. Lee has always been part of the history of the Masters Tournament. His presence will be severely lost, but his legacy will continue to be celebrated. “

The elder entered golf as a caddy because it was essentially the only conduit that blacks had to allow on the course. He was able to hone his game while in the Army, and after retirement he took part in the United Golf Association Tour for Black Players in the early 1960s.

He has grown to be one of UGA’s best players, but his low prize money made it difficult to make a living. Finally, at the age of 33, the elder could afford a PGA-qualified school and won the first tour card of the 1968 season.

The highlight of his rookie year was Nicklaus’ memorable defeat at the fifth hole of the Sudden Death Playoffs at the American Golf Classic.

The elder continued to win four PGA Tour wins and eight wins at the PGA Tour Champions for players over the age of 50. He finished 11th in both the 1974 PGA Championship and the 1979 US Open and competed in all four major championships. His best finish at the Masters was also in 1979 with 17th place tie.

But the elder’s game impact far outweighed the wins and losses, even if it took decades for his legacy to be fully valued.

“I was always surprised that the President of the United States gave these various awards to athletes’ athletic performance. Here was a man who was never really given a legitimate award.” The player said.

The elder was 40 when he played for the first Masters. As a result, many of his heyday have already been stolen from him by the tragedy of racism.

The PGA had white-only rules until 1961, 14 years after Jackie Robinson broke the baseball-colored wall. It took another 14 years for the Masters to finally invite a black player.

Last year, before the late Pandemic Masters played for the first time in November, Augusta National played two scholarships under his name at Augusta’s historic black school, Paine College, to enlmous elders. I acknowledged the contribution.

The club also invited him to take part in a tee shot of the ceremony with Niklaus and the players at this year’s Masters.

“It’s a great honor, and I cherish it very much, and I always cherish it,” said the elder.

“It was a long time late,” added Nicklaus.

The elder knew Robinson, who died in 1972. Hank Aaron endured a racist threat throughout his stellar baseball career, especially when approaching Babe Ruth’s home run mark.

Aaron hit his record-breaking 715th home run on April 8, 1974.

Twelve days later, the elder won the Monsanto Open to qualify for the Masters the following year.

Just before Hammer died in January, the elder visited Aaron.

“We talked about a few things … the involvement we felt could help our sport, our particular sport, and the other young blacks who came behind us.” Said the elder. “And what I’ve done inspires many young black players, and I certainly hope they keep doing it.”

The elder was in Augusta National in 1997 for Woods’ historic victory. He never missed a black man winning the tournament for the first time.

After all, it was the elder who paved the way.



Lee Elder, first Black golfer to play at Masters, dies at 87 Source link Lee Elder, first Black golfer to play at Masters, dies at 87

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