An award that is long overdue will finally be awarded to PGA Tour player Lee Elder, who was one of the pioneers in the sport for black golfers.
Elder, the first black golfer to play in the Masters, will be awarded the prestigious Bob Jones award by the United States Golf Association. The Jones award is considered the USGA’s highest honor. Elder, 84, will receive his award at the U.S. Open in June at Pebble Beach.
The Jones awards honor those who demonstrated character, respect, and competitive spirit that golf legend Bobby Jones was known for.
“Lee’s perseverance, positive attitude, and generous spirit personify the ideals that the Bob Jones Award represents,” said USGA CEO Mike Davis. “His grace and humility demonstrate his extraordinary character, and his work at the community level has paved the way for generations of future golfers. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to honor his incredible sportsmanship in the game.”
In 1975 Lee Elder became the first black man to play in the Masters, the tournament that Jones helped found. He also became the first black man to play in the Ryder Cup event in 1979.
During an interview with Golf Week’s Jeff Rude, Elder talks about his PGA Tour career and his journey to Augusta National. Elder won four PGA Tour events, and 12 worldwide tournaments as a pro.
Elder discusses his trailblazing career and the death threats and pressure he endured when he played in the Masters. Click here to see the interview.