Below are some African-American golf pioneer "firsts" in the game of golf:
- Joe Louis, the former heavyweight champion of the world who is considered to be one of the greatest boxers in history, was the first African American to play in a PGA sponsored event with a sponsor's exemption – the 1963 San Diego Open.
- Pete Brown made history when he won the 1964 Waco Turner Open, becoming the first African-American golfer to win a PGA Tour sanctioned event.
- Charlie Sifford's stellar golf career culminated in 2004, as he became the first African American inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Sifford was also the first African-American playing member of The PGA of America.
- Calvin Peete was the first African American on the U.S. Ryder Cup Team.
- In 1975, Lee Elder became the first African American to play in the Masters.
- In 1963, tennis-great Althea Gibson became the first African American to compete on the LPGA Tour.
- Businessman George Lewis became the first African-American board member of The PGA of America.
- In 1896, John Shippen became the first African American to play in the U.S. Open.
- Bill Powell was the first African American to build, own and operate a golf course, the Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio.
Black History Month Displays
Additionally, throughout the month of February, The PGA of America will celebrate Black History Month with commemorative displays featuring PGA Professional Bill Spiller at PGA Headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and at the PGA Museum of Golf in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
The PGA of America is celebrating Black History Month by recognizing the achievements of Spiller, as well as other trailblazing pioneers.