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Charlie Sifford
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    (June 2, 1922-February 3, 2015)
    Born in Charlotte, North Carolina
    Six-time winner of the National Negro Open (1952-56,1960)
    First black golfer to join the PGA Tour (1961)
    Won two PGA Tour events
    Won the PGA Seniors Championship (1975)
    Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame (2004)
    Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2014)
    He began smoking cigars as a teen.
    He developed his signature short swing from practicing on closed golf courses: 'I was always moving fast to keep from being thrown off the course.'
    In his late teens, he made money as a golf hustler.
    His best finish in a golf major was tying for 21st at the 1972 US Open.
    He said, 'If I was the Jackie Robinson of golf, I sure didn't do a very good job of it. Jackie was followed by a hundred great black ballplayers. I was followed by no one.'
    He was married to Rose Sifford for 51 years.
    He served in the Pacific during World War II and fought at the Battle of Okinawa.
    The PGA would not issue him a tour card until he was 39 and past his prime.
    He said, 'I really would like to know how good I could have been with a fair chance.'
    He had to deal with constant harassment and death threats from white spectators.
    At one event, he found that the cup on the first hole had been filled with human excrement.
    Tiger Woods said that without Sifford 'I probably wouldn't be here.'
    He said, 'I knew what I was getting into when I chose golf.... All the discrimination, the not being able to play where I deserved and wanted to play — in the end I didn't give a damn. I was made for a tough life, because I'm a tough man.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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