PGA Historical Center Celebrates Black History Month

Joe Louis and Charlie SiffordThe PGA of America is paying tribute to four groundbreaking African-American heroes in the sport of golf with a moving Black History Month display at the PGA Historical Center in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Honored in the historical retrospective are former Heavyweight Champion of the World Joe Louis, and PGA Professionals Charlie Sifford, Pete Brown and Steve Hogan.

Louis became the first African American to compete with a sponsor's exemption in a PGA Tour event during the 1963 San Diego Open. A staunch supporter of black golfers being accepted to play in PGA events, Louis used the Joe Louis Open, an even held in Detroit from 1941-51 to spearhead his efforts. Louis' son, Joe Louis Barrow Jr., is the Chief Executive Officer of The First Tee, an organization dedicated to teaching junior golf. 

Sifford, a PGA Life Member and the 1975 Senior PGA Champion, became the first African American inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, in 2004.

The PGA Tour recently introuduced the Charlie Sifford exemption, which goes to a player who represents the advancement of diversity in golf. Vincent Johnson, who was a two-time winner in college at Oregon St. University, was the first recipient of the award, allowing him to compete in the recent Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

PGA Historical Center in Port St. Lucie

Sifford was the first black to become a PGA Tour member in 1961. The last of his two victories came 40 years ago this month at the Los Angeles Open, held that year at Rancho Municipal Golf Course.

Brown, the first African American to win a sanctioned PGA Tour event when he captured the 1964 Waco Turner Open, is also a PGA Life Member. He won the 1970 Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational and then served as PGA head professional at Madden Golf Course in Dayton, Ohio, from 1978-2003.

Steve Hogan, the 2003 PGA Junior Golf Leader, became a legend for redirecting the lives of youth in the Omaha, Neb., area through his "Hogan's Junior Golf Heroes," which began in 1990. In 2002, he created The First Tee of Omaha - two programs that he molded together, in order to make a difference through golf for countless children in the area. Hogan passed away from cancer in 2008.

Charlie Sifford"The individuals honored here are pioneers and heroes who have championed the cause of diversity that echoes throughout the game of golf and our society today," said PGA President Jim Remy. "Their passion for the game will continue to resonate for generations to come, as they have afforded the opportunity for people of all races, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds to play and compete in our great sport."

The PGA Historical Center, the new home to the Ryder Cup trophy, will feature the Black History Month tribute and Samuel Ryder's golden chalice trophy this winter. The facility is part of PGA Village, which also features the PGA Golf Club, with 54 holes of Championship golf by Tom Fazio and Pete Dye, and ranked among the 50 Best Golf Courses in the United States by Golf World; and the PGA Learning Center, just honored for the 10th consecutive year as one of the "Top 100 Golf Practice Facilities in America" by Golf Range Magazine.

The PGA Historical Center is located adjacent to the PGA Learning Center. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with complementary admission daily. For more information on PGA Village and the Black History Month display at the PGA Historical Center, please call (800) 800-GOLF or visit PGAVillage.com. 

 

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