Lee Elder, the first African-American to compete in The Masters, died at the age of 87

0
54
Lee Elder
Source: Skysports

Lee Elder, the first African American to participate in the Masters’ Tournament, died at the age of 87.

In April of this year, Elder accepted an invitation to join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as honorary starters for the tournament, recognising his pioneering success in competing at Augusta National.

He went on to compete in the Masters six times, with the best finish of tied for 17th. He also won four times on the PGA Tour and added eight more wins after joining the Senior PGA Tour in 1984.

He joined the United Golf Association Tour for Black players after being discharged from the Army in 1961 and had a lot of success, winning 18 of 22 tournaments in a row at one point, despite the low prize money.

Lee Elder got his PGA Tour card in 1967 and finished 40th in the Order of Merit in his first season, though it took him six years to win his first tournament, the Monsanto Open in 1974, where he beat England’s Peter Oosterhuis in a play-off, earning him a spot in the Masters the following year.

This was the first time an African American made the Augusta National field, although Elder had to move between two rented houses during the event because he was afraid for his safety after receiving a lot of hate mail, including death threats.

After rounds of 74 and 78, he would miss the cut, despite insisting on playing in the event: “Every time I stepped up to a green, I was greeted with thunderous cheers. Every single one of them yelled, “Go, Lee!” ‘Best of luck, Lee!'”

Elder got his PGA Tour card in 1967 and finished 40th in the Order of Merit in his first season, though it took him six years to win his first tournament, the Monsanto Open in 1974, where he beat England’s Peter Oosterhuis in a play-off, earning him a spot in the Masters the following year.

This was the first time an African American made the Augusta National field, although Elder had to move between two rented houses during the event because he was afraid for his safety after receiving a lot of hate mail, including death threats.

After rounds of 74 and 78, he would miss the cut, despite insisting on playing in the event: “Every time I stepped up to a green, I was greeted with thunderous cheers. Every single one of them yelled, “Go, Lee!” ‘Best of luck, Lee!'”

Elder won two PGA Tour tournaments in 1978, putting him on the road to become the first African American to play in the Ryder Cup in 1979.

In 2005, he declared his retirement from all competitive golf, although he continued to visit Augusta on a regular basis, and this year’s Masters would be his last, albeit one of his most memorable.

Elder received a standing ovation for his contributions to the golfing community, which included an invitation to join Nicklaus and Player on the first tee before the first round on a lovely Thursday morning, a moment Elder described as “something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

For Golf tournament, golf championship, golf live scores, golf club, golf course and other golf news follow Livematchupdates.com.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here