Birthday: June 2, 1922
Year turned pro: 1948
Birthplace: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Charles Sifford was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1922, and was the first African American golfer to play on the PGA Tour. After starting to work as a caddy at the age of thirteen, Sifford started playing golf against other African Americans at the age of seventeen; at the time African American golfers were still excluded from the PGA. He was champion of the United Golf Association's National Negro Open on six occasions, and he also worked coaching golf to band leader Billy Eckstine.
When Sifford first attempted to play on the PGA Tour, using an invitation that had been made to Joe Louis, he was subjected to much abuse. Even so, he went on to win the Long Beach Open in 1957. This was an event which was co-sponsored by PGA, although it wasn’t an official Tour tournament. This initial success was followed by Sifford placing joint 32nd in the US Open in 1959. Two years later he joined the PGA Tour. This was followed by wins during his nine year career, including the 1967 Greater Hartford Open and the 1969 Los Angeles Open. Sifford went on to play on the PGA Seniors Championship, and won in1975.
Away from the course, Sifford and his wife Rose had two sons, Charles Jr. and Craig. Rose died in 1998, and Sifford himself died on February 3, 2015 after suffering an earlier stroke.
Sifford had an enormous influence on the game, and was the first African American to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2014.
Throughout his career, Sifford achieved two wins on the PGA Tour and amassed total prize money $333,582.