Charles Luther Sifford was born on June 2, 1922 in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the tender age of 13, he found work as a caddy. Which was where he learned about golf and how to play the sport. By the age of 17, he moved to Philadelphia and played against local black golfers.
By 1948, he started to play golf professionally. The golf tournaments he participated were organized by other black golfers because they were not permitted to be in the PGA. The black golfers formed the United Golf Association National Negro Open, which Charlie won 6 times, during the period of 1952-1956. Bill Eckstine, hired him and a personal golf coach.
Charlie won a PGA sponsored event call the Long Beach Open in 1957. The open had some well-known white players. In 1959, Charlie competed in the U.S Open for the first time, and he tied for 32nd place. In 1961, he becomes a member of the Tour, and is the first African American to join the PGA.
He won two official games as a member of the PGA, in 1964 Greater Hartford Open and 1969 Los Angeles Open.
Charlie’s wife Rose passed in 1998. The pair had two son’s Charles Jr. and Craig Sifford.
In 2004, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Then in 2007. He was awarded the Old Tom Morris Award. Mecklenburg County Park also was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014.
Tiger Woods said that Charlie paved the way for him with his career in golf. He looked at Charlie as a grandfather that he never had. He said it Charlie wasn’t here he would be here playing this sport. Charlie was also referred the “Jackie Robinson” of golf by Lee Tervino.
A month before his death, he was in the hospital due to a stroke. Then died, on February 3, 2015 at the age of 92, in Cleveland, Ohio.