by staff reporter
Golfer, Dr. Charles L “Charlie” Sifford died Tuesday at the golden age of 92, according to the Professional Golfers’ Association of America.
Sifford, the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour, was referred to as the Jackie Robinson of golf for breaking the color barrier back in 1961.
“…the world of golf has lost a faithful ambassador in PGA Member Dr. Charles L. Sifford,” Derek Sprague, president of the PGA of America said. “His love of golf, despite many barriers in his path, strengthened him as he became a beacon for diversity in our game. By his courage, Dr. Sifford inspired others to follow their dreams. The PGA of America extends its thoughts and prayers to Dr. Sifford’s family. Golf was fortunate to have had this exceptional American in our midst.”
Sifford was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November from President Obama. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004 and received an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland in 2006.
“Terrible loss for golf and me personally. My grandfather is gone and we all lost a brave, decent and honorable man. I’ll miss u Charlie,” tweeted Tiger Woods. (He often referred to Sifford as his grandfather.)
President Obama issued the following statement: “Michelle and I offer our condolences on the passing of golf legend Charlie Sifford. Charlie was the first African-American to earn a PGA tour card – often facing indignity and injustice even as he faced the competition. Though his best golf was already behind him, he proved that he belonged, winning twice on tour and blazing a trail for future generations of athletes in America. I was honored to award Charlie the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year – for altering the course of the sport and the country he loved. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his friends, and his fans.”
Sifford had recently suffered a stroke. Specific details of his death and funeral arrangements were not immediately available.