Black History Month: Charlie Sifford Made Golf History One Hole at a Time

Publish date:

Charlie Sifford was a trail blazer so vital to the future of golf. The first African-American in PGA Tour history had plenty of achievements during his playing career, including wins at the Greater Hartford Open in 1967 and the Los Angeles Open in 1969.

But, to hear Tiger Woods say it himself, it was Sifford who paved the way for him.

Without Sifford, Woods said, "I probably wouldn't be here. My dad would have never have picked up the game. Who knows if the clause would still exist or not? But he broke it down." 

The "clause" Woods is talking about refers to a racist institutional policy in golf that prohibited non-white athletes from competing. 

Woods even went so far as to name his son Charlie after Sifford, "the grandpa I never had," Woods would later say.

From the SI Vault:

"Call Back The Years," by William Johnson (Mar. 31, 1969)