The golf world is in mourning today as Lee Elder, a trail blazer in the world of professional golf, has passed away. He was 87 years old.
Born in Texas, Elder was one of 10 children and lost his father during World War II. His mother passed away several months later, and his youth was a bit unstable before he found golf.
In 1967, Elder joined the PGA Tour and famously battled the great Jack Nicklaus in a playoff at the American Golf Classic. Over the next few years, he would climb the ranks in the golf world, eventually becoming the first African-American to receive an invitation to The Masters.
Elder broke the color barrier at Augusta, but faced racism throughout his golf career. He dealt with unruly fans and outright racist behavior on a regular basis during many PGA Tour events in the late-60s and 70s.
This past year, Elder was honored during the ceremonies for the 2021 Masters Tournament in Augusta.
Lee Elder has passed away at the age of 87.
In 1975, he made history as the first African American to compete in the Masters Tournament.
Lee was honored this past April at Augusta National and his legacy will surely live on. pic.twitter.com/1o05rephKt
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 29, 2021
In a career that went from 1959 all the way to 2005, Lee Elder won four PGA Tour events. He never won a major, but had a top 25 finish twice at the Masters, once in the U.S. Open and four times in the PGA Championship.
On top of his achievements on the golf course, Elder became a philanthropist and activist in his own time. He fought hard against South African apartheid and created a scholarship fund to help low-income individuals afford college.
The golf world lost one of its all-time great people today. Lee Elder will be missed.
Our hearts go out to Mr. Elder’s family and loved ones.