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Martha Wilson

one of the first African American golfers to play on the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) tour. Born in Dallas, Texas, Elder was orphaned at an early age. He moved to Los Angeles to live with his sister, and surreptitiously entered segregated golf courses at night, where he taught himself to play golf. He moved in 1966 to Washington, D.C., where he served in the army and distinguished himself as a skilled golfer. It was here that he met and married his first wife, Rose Harper Lee. He became a professional golfer in 1959 and joined the all-black United Golf Association tour in 1961.

In 1967 he joined the mainstream PGA and in 1971 he played in the first racially integrated tourn`ament in South Africa s history after first making sure that he and his wife could stay at the hotel of their choice and could ...

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Michael C. Miller

professional golfer, was born in Dallas, Texas, the youngest of eight children of Charles, a truck driver, and Almeta Elder. Charles died in World War II, and Almeta just a few weeks later, leaving Lee to be raised by his older sister Sadie. In 1943 he started shagging golf balls and caddying at Tennison Golf Course, trying to earn money to help his family. The club professional at Tennison allowed caddies to play the holes not visible from the clubhouse, and by age twelve, Elder was a regular player and hustler on the course, including hustling and caddying for the legendary hustler, gambler, and golfer Titanic Thompson (Alvin C. Thomas). In 1949 Elder left Dallas to live with an aunt in Los Angeles, California, mainly to have more opportunities to play golf since blacks were restricted from most courses in Dallas.

Elder continued caddying and hustling ...

Article

Jason Philip Miller

professional golfer, was born in Owens, South Carolina, but her family relocated to Washington, D.C., and would remain there for the rest of her life. Little information about her early years or upbringing is available. As an adult, she managed the school cafeteria at Dunbar High School. She married Eugene Funches, an elevator operator at the National Geographic Society, and avid amateur golfer. It was from him that she learned the game.

At the time no white golf clubs or courses would admit African Americans, so blacks created their own competitive golf leagues and opened their own courses. Sometime in the early 1940s, Funches joined one of these, the Wake Robin Golf Club in Washington. Wake Robin had been founded not long before, in 1936 by thirteen women whose husbands were members of DC s Royal Golf Club The Royal Golf Club was only open to African American men ...

Article

Kate Tuttle

Gary Player may be not only the greatest golfer from South Africa but one of the greatest golfers of all time. He has won more than 100 major international titles and is one of only four men to win each of the game’s four major professional tournaments. After a difficult childhood—his mother died when he was eight years old, and his father, a gold miner, barely made enough to live on—he learned to play golf on a local course and turned professional in 1953. Four years later he entered the United States Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) circuit. Player’s long roster of victories includes the British Open (1959, 1968, 1974), the U.S. PGA (1962, 1972), the U.S. Open (1965), and the Masters (1961, 1974, 1978 In addition he won the South African Open thirteen times and the ...

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Jeremy Rich

professional golfer and businessman, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 1 November 1935, the son of Muriel (maiden name unknown) and Harry Player. His father worked in a gold mine beginning at age thirteen, and later became a professional golfer. Player has recalled that his mother was a major influence on her son, and that she encouraged him to show respect toward others. Cancer took her life when Player was only eight years old, a loss he felt deeply well into adulthood. As a child Player idolized cowboy heroes from American television western series like Have Gun, Will Travel and eventually adopted the dark sartorial look of that show s hero Paladin on the golf course Wearing a shirt pants and cap Player later gloried in the nickname The Black Knight It took some convincing by Harry Player for his son to focus on golf rather ...

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Michael C. Miller

professional golfer, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, the youngest of nine children. Rhodes rarely spoke of his parents, though he did mention in an interview that his father died when he was four years old. By the time he reached the fifth grade, Ted had dropped out of school to work as a caddy on area golf courses, including being a club favorite at the Belle Meade Country Club. When he was not caddying, Rhodes took other odd jobs at any golf course he could, or played golf. Nashville had no courses for blacks to use, so Rhodes and other caddies made their own courses in neighborhood parks. Rhodes also sneaked onto courses where he caddied or played on “caddy days,” and became fairly well known as a golfer and hustler.

Rhodes s golf swing the result of endless practice soon came to be recognized as one of the ...

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Gregory Travis Bond

golfer, was born Charles Luther Sifford in Charlotte, North Carolina, one of six children of Roscoe Sifford, a laborer, and Eliza. He was introduced to golf at the age of nine while working as a caddy at the local Carolina Country Club, where he learned the game during numerous early morning rounds. Sifford claimed his first title at a caddy's tournament in 1934, bringing home ten dollars and a case of Pepsi Cola. Financial difficulties and racial problems in Charlotte both on and off of the course forced him to drop out of his segregated high school during his junior year and move to live with an uncle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1939. Sifford soon found a job as a shipping clerk for the National Biscuit Company, and he honed his golfing game at the public Cobbs Creek links.

During World War II Sifford served ...

Article

Michael L. Krenn

golfer and businessman. Woods was born Eldrick Woods in Cypress, California, the son of Earl Woods and Kutilda Punsawad Woods. His father and mother met when Earl Woods was serving with the U.S. Army in Thailand during the Vietnam War and Kutilda Punsawad was a Thai national working as a secretary where he was based. They married in 1969 and had their first and only child six years later. From his birth the child was called “Tiger” by his father, a tribute to one of the South Vietnamese soldiers Earl Woods served with during the war.

Tiger Woods was a virtual walking melting pot, combining the Chinese, Thai, African American, Native American, and Dutch backgrounds of his parents. But the America he was born into was hardly the racially tolerant promised land dreamed of by Martin Luther King Jr. The all white neighborhood in Cypress California where ...