Kite, Aoki among other inductees

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Charlie Sifford only wanted a chance to play. Despite a warning from Jackie Robinson that he would face taunts and threats, Sifford fought the PGA Tour over its Caucasian-only clause until he became its first black member in 1960. Full privileges didn't come for another five years. He couldn't stay in hotels at some of the tournaments he played. Sifford measured success by surviving a hostile environment that infiltrated a genteel game. So imagine how it must feel to join one of the most exclusive clubs in golf, a membership that includes only the best who ever played -- Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Listen to him when he answers his phone. "Charlie Sifford, Hall of Famer," he says in a voice finally full of optimism. An iron-willed man who spent his career fighting for inclusion, Sifford will break down another barrier Monday night when he becomes the first black member inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. His credentials include only two PGA Tour victories, the 1967 Greater Hartford Open and the 1969 Los Angeles Open. He was never invited to the Masters, a wound that only healed when Tiger Woods won the green jacket in a record-setting performance in 1997. But many believe Sifford's election through the Lifetime Achievement category was overdue. "Charlie won tournaments, but more important, he broke a barrier," Nicklaus said. "I think what Charlie Sifford has brought to this game has been monumental. To be inducted into the Hall of Fame ... I think it's about time." Others to be inducted at the World Golf Village:

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...