Who's who: Charlie Sifford

  • Photo of Charlie Sifford
  • usa.png
  • Photo of Charlie Sifford
  • usa.png

Who's who: Charlie Sifford

  • Name:

    Charles Luther Sifford
  • Country:

    USA
  • Lived:

    [1922-2015]. Born on June 2, 1922 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Died on Feb 3, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio (aged 92).
  • Original/Home Club:

    Carolina GC, NC
  • Occupation:

    Professional golfer
  • Turned Pro:

    1948

Roll of Honour

22 professional tournament wins, including PGA Tour (2) and Snr PGA Tour (1). Winner of the 1975 PGA Senior's Championship (before the launch of the Snr PGA Tour in 1980, and before the event became a "major" in 1980). Six-time winner of the UGA National Negro Open.

World Golf Hall of Fame (inducted in 2004). Old Tom Morris Award (2007, GCSAA). Awarded one of the USA's two highest civilian honours, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2014, by Pres Barack Obama).

Did you know?

Sifford grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was introduced to golf while working as a caddie at the Carolina Golf Club. He developed his own golfing skills, under the watchful eye of touring golf professional Clayton Heafner. When he returned from serving in the segregated Army in the Battle of Okinawa during World War II, Sifford decided to make a career in golf. He turned professional in 1948 aged 26. As a pro he won five consecutive national titles in the all-black United Golfers Association, but longed to take on the best players on the PGA Tour.

The legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson, who broke the colour barrier in that sport, became the inspiration for Sifford to do the same in the sport of golf. Tiger Woods, who refers to Sifford as "the grandpa I never had," credits Sifford's trailblazing contribution for paving the way for his own introduction to golf and subsequent phenomenal career.

During his career Sifford recorded 22 professional wins, including two on the PGA Tour and one on the Senior PGA Tour. His seismic contribution to golf was recognised when Sifford became the first black golfer inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. He was only the third golfer, behind Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the USA's highest civilian honour.

Top tournaments won by Charlie Sifford

1980
America
Suntree CC, FL
279 (-9)
$20,000
x

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Sifford, Charlie

Venue

Suntree CC, FL

Score

279 (-9)

Prize money

$20,000

Title sponsor

x

Played as the inaugural Suntree Senior Classic. Second-placed Don January (USA) finished 4 shots behind Sifford (USA), who recorded his first (and only) US Snr Tr win. [Suntree CC, Melbourne, Florida].

1975
America
280 (-8)
$7,500
PGA of America

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Sifford, Charlie

Score

280 (-8)

Prize money

$7,500

Title sponsor

PGA of America

Played as the PGA Seniors' Championship. Sifford (USA) beat Fred Wampler (USA) with a 22-foot birdie putt at the first playoff hole. [Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Sifford, Charlie

Score

276 (-8)

Prize money

$20,000

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Los Angeles Open (Jan 9-12; PGA Tour season-opener). Sifford (USA) beat Harold Henning (RSA) with a birdie at the first playoff hole, to record the second of his two PGA Tour wins. [Rancho Park GC, Los Angeles, CA].

1967
America
Wethersfield CC
272 (-12)
$20,000
x

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Sifford, Charlie

Venue

Wethersfield CC

Score

272 (-12)

Prize money

$20,000

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Greater Hartford Open Invitational (Aug 17-20). Second-placed Steve Oppermann (USA) finished 1 shot behind 45-year-old Charlie Sifford (USA), who recorded the first of his two PGA Tour wins. [Wethersfield CC, nr Hartford, CT].

1963
America
277 (-7)
$1,200
x

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Sifford, Charlie

Venue

Berwind

Score

277 (-7)

Prize money

$1,200

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Puerto Rico Open (Feb 28-Mar 3; US PGA-sanctioned Caribbean tour event). Second-placed and defending champion George Knudson (Can) finished 6 shots behind 39-year-old Charlie Sifford (USA), who claimed his first win in a 72-hole PGA-sanctioned event. [Berwind CC, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico].

1960
America
Almaden G&CC
281 (-7)
$2,000
x

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Sifford, Charlie

Venue

Almaden G&CC

Score

281 (-7)

Prize money

$2,000

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Almaden Open (Nov 17-20; non-PGA Tour event, predominantly played by pros based on the West Coast). Charlie Sifford (USA) beat Bill Eggers (USA) with a birdie-four at the first playoff hole. Sifford recorded a hole-in-one in the first round. [Almaden CC, San Jose, CA; now called Almaden G&CC].

Find a course

Or

Where2Golf Spotlight

Tournaments:
Solheim Cup: can Europe defend the most prestigious team trophy in women’s professional golf, when the 17th Solheim Cup is played out at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio (Sept 4-6).

Italian Open: Nicolai Højgaard recorded his first European Tour win (Sept 5), just a week after his twin brother Rasmus landed the European Masters title (Aug 29); the first brothers to win back-to-back on the European Tour.

Who's Who:
Patrick Cantlay: moved into the world top 5, after winning the final two FedEx Cup playoff events and scooping the $15 million first prize.

Trish Johnson: kept the Senior LPGA Championship trophy in European hands, with her second win in this event in its four-year history.

Latest Golf Course Updates

The San Roque Club: "... how best to revitalise a course that had previously been fit to play regular host to the European Tour’s qualifying school finals..." by Toby Ingleton.

New 27-hole golf complex to be built in southern Belgium
A new golf complex in southern Belgium, close to the border with Luxembourg, will start construction in June 2021.

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club "makes its tournament debut with the hosting of the Italian Open on the European Tour" by Richard Humphreys

Gamble Sands opens short course:
David McLay Kidd’s 14-hole QuickSands short course has opened for play at Gamble Sands in Brewster, Washington.

Travel

Discover the world's finest heathland courses located in Surrey / Berkshire

Popular videos

You can subscribe to the Where2Golf channel on YT if you like to see more video content. You'll find a "Subscribe" button on any of our YouTube videos. Or if you want a quick and direct access subscribe here. Once done, any new published videos will show up in your Subscriptions feed.

Ryder Cup 2021 at Whistling Straits

The Dutch Open 2021 at Bernardus

Bump Your Hips to Start the Downswing