Date posted: February 26, 2013
I was a rookie, full-time golf writer at Golf World magazine in 1993 when I read these painfully pessimistic words from Dr. Charles (Charlie) Sifford in the opening paragraph of his seminal book “Just Let Me Play”: “There is no place for a black man in professional golf. It doesn’t take a Philadelphia lawyer to figure that one out. I’m 69 years old, and I’ve been playing this game since I was a little kid in North Carolina. I played for 15 years on the PGA circuit, and I’ve been a regular on the Senior PGA Tour since its inception in 1980. And I still don’t see any room for a black in golf.’’
Knowing Charlie as well as I do, I doubt that induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame nine years ago changed his opinion, especially given the notion that equally deserving pioneers like Joe Louis, Ted Rhodes, Calvin Peete and William Powell haven’t been given serious consideration for the Hall. The fight to level the playing field continues for sure.
Despite the decade-plus dominance of Tiger Woods on the PGA Tour, Sifford’s assessment appears applicable to contemporary professional golf. At least on the surface. How else does one explain the irrefutable fact that 20 years after I nearly choked on those words, Woods remains the lone player of African-American descent in golf’s major leagues. Fellow Stanford standout Joseph Bramlett had a brief stint on Tour in 2011 before failing to earn enough money to retain his playing privileges and landing on the Web.com Tour this past season. His near-miss (barely finished outside the top-25 money winners) of regaining his status on Tour for the 2013 season is as inexplicable as it is unfortunate because Bramlett had one hand on his card much of the season. Along with Jeremiah Wooding (Josh’s younger brother, who advanced to the finals of Q-School), Bramlett is relegated to the Web.com again this year.
Read the full article...