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Golf Australia Express : October 2013 - United Colours of Golf
The National, as the tournament became known, was both the No.1 place for African-American golfers to display their talent and also a great source of pride and strength for those who competed. But the PGA’s determination to maintain its all-white status was equally as vigorous. In fact the bigotry was written into its by-laws, with non-Caucasian golfers banned from membership and therefore from entering PGA-sanctioned events. It wasn’t until 1948 that Ted Rhodes [pictured right] became the second African-American to play in the US Open, more than 50 years after Shippen blazed the trail. In the end, it may have been weight of results and the immense talent being denied to spectators that began to chip away at the rules of exclusion. Black golfer Charlie Sifford won the PGA co-sponsored Long Beach Open in 1957, beating a field that included a decent collection of white players. Four years later the ban on black players was lifted and he became the first African- American to earn a PGA Tour card. Making a mockery of the rules that kept them out, African- American players quickly began grabbing their long-awaited share of silverware. Pete Brown became the first black player to win a PGA Tour event when he claimed the Waco Open in 1964. Sifford chimed in at the Greater Hartford Open Invitational ANN GREGORY [ABOVE] AND TENNIS GREAT ALTHEA GIBSON LED THE WAY FOR BLACK WOMEN TED RHODES