Wednesday, November 12

Golf Pioneer Charlie Sifford to Receive Prized Medal

Charlie Sifford
CONGRATULATIONS TO CHARLIE SIFFORD for being named as one of the 19 people to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 24. The medal is the highest civilian honor in America. Sifford will be the third golfer to receive the award. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus are the other two.

Sifford broke the color barrier on the PGA Tour, paying a terrible price in terms of insults, threats and all manner of indignities. I've heard him talk about the difficulty of that path and the abuse he endured, and also how he felt that somehow he was the man to do it.

Sifford, 92, won twice on tour, at the 1967 Greater Hartford Open and the 1969 Los Angeles Open. He also won twice on the Champions Tour. In 2004, Sifford was the first African American inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

"Dr. Charles Sifford is most deserving of this special honor," said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem at PGATour.com.

"He is the ultimate pioneer who endured untold hardships with tremendous dignity, courage and spirit, and he is a true role model who has provided inspiration to aspiring players of diverse backgrounds. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for helping to change our sport for the better. He is a true champion, in every sense of the word."

I spent some time with Charlie Sifford when I was working on THE LONGEST SHOT and hanging out with a group of legends a few times a year on the Champions Tour. I plan to re-share some anecdotes in the coming days.

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