Lee Elder, Legendary Golf Icon, Dies At 87

A trailblazer in the sport, he was the first Black man to play in a major golf tournament.

Golf legend Lee Elder, the first African American to play in the Masters Tournament, breaking its color barrier, died Sunday night at 87.

The PGA Tour confirmed news of Elder’s passing in a post on Twitter. A cause of death was not immediately known.

In 1975, Elder became the first Black golfer to play at the Masters. He would eventually compete in six Masters and his highest finish was 17th. Elder earned four PGA Tour wins and eight Senior PGA Tour Champions titles. Beyond trophies, Elder paved the way for others who went on to become Masters champions like Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh, in breaking the color barrier.

"I wasn't the pioneer. Charlie Sifford, Lee Elder and Teddy Rhodes paved the way," Woods said after his Masters win in 1997, according to CBS Sports. "I was thinking about them and what they've done for me as I was coming up the 18th fairway. I said a little prayer and a thanks to those guys. They are the ones who did it for me."

RELATED: Tiger Woods Crash Update: Cause of Accident Determined by LAPD But Will Remain Private

In April, Elder was honored by Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley on the first tee at the Honorary Starters Ceremony at The Masters.

According to CBS Sports, Elder said during the ceremony, "I certainly want to say thank you so very much for this great opportunity. For me and my family, I think it was one of the most emotional experiences that I have ever witnessed or been involved in. It is certainly something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.