SAN DIEGO – Many in the golf community are mourning the loss of 92-year-old Charlie Sifford, who is credited with breaking down the sport’s color barrier in the 1960s.
The news hit especially hard for Tiger Woods, who described Sifford’s death as a “terrible loss for golf and me personally.”
“It’s been tough – very tough,” Woods said after his pro-am round Wednesday at the Farmers Insurance Open. “He’s like my grandpa that I never had. And it’s been a long night and it’s going to be a long few days.
“But he fought, and what he did, the courage it took for him to stick with it and be out here and play, I probably wouldn’t be here, my dad would have never picked up the game, and who knows if the clause would still exist or not. But he broke it down.”
Sifford became the first black man to receive his tour card when the PGA of America desegregated in 1961, and was known as the “Jackie Robinson of golf.”
In 2001, he became the first black golfer to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Last November, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, joining Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as the only golfers to receive the honor.
Woods posted this tweet on Wednesday morning:
Terrible loss for golf and me personally. My grandfather is gone and we all lost a brave, decent and honorable man. I'll miss u Charlie.— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) February4, 2015