Sifford Was Allowed To Come In Through The Front Door , Tiger Merely Nudged It Ajar ……….

 

 

 

 

Sifford  Was  Allowed   To  Come  In  Through  The  Front  Door  , Tiger  Merely   Nudged   It  Ajar ……………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie  Sifford  was  the   first   African  American  to  be  allowed  to  play  on the  PGA  Tour.    And   he  also   holds  the   distinction to be  the   first   minority  to  have   played   in  a  Major.   That  being   said   those   advancements  within  the   game  of   golf  and  the  very   fact  that   now  seated  atop  of  the  world  golf  rankings   a  minority  in the  guise of  Tiger  Woods.   It  has  to  be  asked   where  are   the  next set  of   minorities  going  to  be  coming  from  when  it  comes  to  competing   on  the  PGA Tour ? I  know  that   Woods   probably  laments  the   fact  that  we’ve   yet  to  see  anyone  from  the  African  American   mould  set  forth  and   compete   on the  Tour.

 

 

 

Charlie Sifford  reacts after  sinking  a short  putt to  finish  the 1969 Los Angeles Open. He'd force  a  playoff  and go on to win  beating  Harold  Henning  on  the  first playoff  hole .
Charlie Sifford reacts after sinking a short putt to finish the 1969 Los Angeles Open. He'd force a playoff and go on to win beating Harold Henning at the first extra playoff hole .

 

 

 

And   though  with  the  notable   exception  of  Native  American  Indian  Notah  Begay III .  We’ve   not  seen an  ethnic   minority of  the  African  American  persuasion  compete   full  time  on  the  PGA  Tour.   The   PGA itself   has   programs  in  place   to   bring  the  sport  to  the  masses.  And   in    particular   to   minorities.  But  it’d   appear  that  their  enthusiasm  doesn’t   seem  to  be  shared  for  the  game.  Other   than  to   watch  Woods   compete  at the  highest  echelons of  the  game. 

 

 

Sifford  acknowledges  the  applause of the  crowd  having  just defeated  Harold  Henning  on the  firs  playoff  hole  of the  1969 Los  Angeles  Open .
Sifford acknowledges the applause of the crowd having just defeated Harold Henning at the first playoff hole of the 1969 Los Angeles Open.

 

 

 

Now  comes   the  worrisome   task   as   to   how  to  address   this  anomaly.   Prior  to  1961   the   game  was   segregated  and   the   only   course of  redress that  many   African  Americans   had   by  way  of  competing   was   to   play   in  games   that  were   organized   by  the   United  Golf  Association. One  has  also   has  to  remember  that   at   the   time   the  PGA   had  it   written  into   its   bye-laws   that    their   events  were   only   open  to  Caucasians.   So  if  anything   for  these   men   they   were   not   only   being   handicapped  by  the  game  itself  but  also  by  the  PGA Tour.   As   they  weren’t  even   afforded  the    respect   that   one  would  deem   befitting  to them.

 

 

 

 

It may  well   suggest    how  far  the   game   has now   come.   As  we’ve  witnessed  seeing   Woods  become  a  success   on  the  Tour.   As   well   as  him   becoming   its   main   attraction.   But  it  also  portends to   the   fact that   once   Woods  decides  to  leave   the  Tour.  We   may   not  see   the  interest   now  being  shown  in the  game.    And  at  the  same  time  we’ve   yet  to  see   an  African  American   come  to  the  fore  on  the  PGA  Tour  by  way  of  competing  at   any  level.     It’d   would  be   remiss  to  suggest  that   there’s   still   some  inherent   racism  on the  PGA  Tour.  Nothing   could  be   further   from    the  truth.   But   what  has   become   alarmingly   clear    is   that    African  American  males or  females  haven’t   gravitated  towards  the sport    by   way   competing   professionally.   One   can   suggest   that   because   many   African  Americans   live  in  the  city   they’re   not   given   access   to  the   game   first hand.  And   at   the   same  time   the   expense   of   the   game  , even   starting  can   run  into  the  hundreds   if  not  thousands  of dollars.      The  affinity  that   they   may  well  have   however   is  just  to  watch   Woods   compete. Rather  than  they   are picking   up   the  mantle   of  wanting  to   follow   in  his   footsteps.

 

 

Oregon State  graduate Vincent Johnson  the  recipient of  the  Charlie  Sifford Exemption  Award.   The  exemption  is done  in  collaboration  between  the  PGA Tour and  one  of  its main  sponsors  financial  concern Northern Trust Co,.  It will  allow  the  recipient  a chance  to  participate  in  a PGA Tour  event.  In this  case  the  Northern Trust  Co Open.
Oregon State graduate Vincent Johnson and the recipient of the Charlie Sifford Exemption Award. The recipient being a minority is afforded the chance to compete in a PGA sanctioned tour event. It is done in collaboration between the PGA Tour and one of its corporate sponsors financial concern Northern Trust Co. The event in question in which Johnson will be a contestant will be the Northern Trust Co Open. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Todd Mayhew ..............

 

 

 

 

 

In  the NFL  and  NBA  many   males  and   females   had    players    that   they   aspired   to  be  like.   And   they  were  afforded  the  choice   of  being   able   to   garner   a  college scholarship  in   order  to   pursue   their   goals.  In   golf   however   the  notion  that  another   African  American  can  aspire  to  be  like   Woods  plainly   hasn’t  materialized   into  anything   tangible.  Albeit   that  the  PGA  Tour   has  enacted   the Charlie  Sifford Exemption  in  collaboration  with   one  of  their  primary  sponsors  Northern Trust.    The  first   recipient   of  this   will  be   Oregon  State   graduate   Vincent  Johnson.   A  fitting   tribute   for   what   Sifford   has   brought  to  the   game.

 

 

 

Fourteen  time  major winner  Tiger  Woods,  the  number  one  ranked  golfer  in the  world.
Fourteen time major winner Tiger Woods , the number one ranked golfer in the world. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Todd Mayhew ................

  

 

 

The  game  has  fared  well  over  the  years    but   it  has  become  distinctively   noticeable   that  were   it  not   for  the  introduction  of  Woods  unto  the  PGA  Tour.  With   all   of  the  hoopla  that  it   entailed   it  would   be   very   difficult   to  see   where   the   game  would   now   find  itself.   The  purses   have   become   gargantuan  and   a  player   can   make  a  more  than   comfortable   living   on  the  Tour.  So   much    so    that   in  many  cases   it’s been  suggested   the  majority  of  the  players   love    playing   second   fiddle   to Woods.  He  has   become  the  heart  and  soul  of  the  PGA  Tour.    And    as   his   fortunes    fare    so do   theirs.

 

 

 A  now  mature and  elderly  Charlie  Sifford  speaks  with  the  convened  press  at  Firestone  Country  Club,  venue  for a  WGC event.   picture appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Mark  Shaughnessy  ............................
The now elder statesman of golf Charlie Sifford takes questions from the convened press at the Firestone Country Club, home venue for a WGC event. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mark Shaugnessy .....................

 

 

 

But as  alluded  to   earlier   where   will   the   next   Woods   come   from  amongst  the   African  American  community ?   If  we’ve    yet  to  see  a  minority  of  that   persuasion  compete   on  the  Tour.   Is  there  any   reason  to   hold   out    much   hope   ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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