For those of us who were paying attention back in the 1950s, the African-American golfers who broke the color barrier on the professional tours are familiar, at least after Bill Spiller’s heroic attempts to legally force the PGA to open its doors. When the segregation clause was threatened, the tour switched to invitationals, then kept the invitee list Caucasian. But, after much hard work, integrated golf broke through.
The likeable Charlie Sifford, born in 1922, was the first African-American to join the tour, but not without a regimen of abuse and threats. Entering in 1961, he won the Long Beach, two PGA events and the Senior Championship in 1975. In 2004, he was the first African-American golfer inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, and chose Gary Player as his presenter.