Lee Elder played a quiet but significant role in breaking racial barriers in professional golf. He was not the first African-American to win a title in an integrated Professional Golfers Association tour - that role fell to Charlie Sifford in 1967. But Mr. Elder endured racist death threats when, in 1975, he was the first black to play in the prestigious Masters Tournament, held at the Augusta (Ga.) National Country Club.
Elder, a Dallas native, was one of eight children. He came to love golf by caddying in Los Angeles starting at age 12. He had gone to California to live with a sister after both his parents died.
In 1961, Elder began playing in the all-black United Golf Association circuit. In 1967, he qualified for the PGA tour, and went on to win four titles. He's still active on the Senior Tour today, where he has won eight titles.
In 1997, Elder returned to Augusta National to watch Tiger Woods become the first man of color to win the Masters tournament. That year, Elder founded the Lee Elder National Junior Golf Foundation and Tour, which offers free clinics in 10 US cities.
Elder and his wife, Sharon, now live in Florida. He enjoys football and spending time with their grandchildren on - where else? -the driving range.
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