This Day in Black History: Jan. 19, 1961

Charlie Sifford

This Day in Black History: Jan. 19, 1961

The golf organization lifts its ”Caucasian Only” clause on Jan. 19, 1961.

Published January 19, 2013

Charles Sifford, the first African-American to be a full-time PGA Tour golfer after the organization lifted a whites-only policy. (Photo: Stephen Dunn /Allsport)

The PGA once limited its participants to whites only. But African-American talent in golf could not be ignored forever. The organization lifted its ”Caucasian Only” clause on Jan. 19, 1961.

Before the change, Black golfers played in tournaments dating back to 1896, when John Shippen tied for sixth place in the U.S. Open, winning $10. Sixty years later, Ann Gregory became the first African-American to enter the U.S. Women’s Amateur tour. 

After the ban was lifted Blacks continued to make history in the PGA. Charlie Sifford was the first full-time Black PGA Tour player, the first to win at the Greater Hartford Open in 1967, and the first to win the Los Angeles Open in 1969. Forty years later, in 1997, Tiger Woods became the first African-American, and youngest player, to win the Masters title.

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Written by Natelegé Whaley


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