Charlie Sifford was one of ten African-Americans on the PGA Tour in the 1970s. Today there is only one: Tiger Woods.
Charlie Sifford, the first African-American to play regularly on the PGA Tour, is now the only African-American in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Things are looking up for black and African-American players, right? Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods - the top two golfers in the world are black. Right?
Yes and no, according to Ron Sirak at ESPN. Singh and Woods are the only two black players on the PGA Tour, and Woods is the only African-American (Vijay is full Fijian, and even Woods is half Thai).
Sirak wonders why, when during Sifford's days upwards of ten African-Americans played the tour and today only one does, but concludes quickly:
The dilemma is not one of race as much as it is one of class. Despite all efforts, and until recently those efforts have been dubious at best, golf has become more expensive, more time consuming and less welcoming of new players. It is a closed fraternity and the secret handshake has been denied to most.
Sirak then goes on to point out that The First Tee, founded in 1997, has already reached 395,000 children and created 178 facilities nationwide. Golf outreach programs are involving hundreds of thousands of children. Greens fees have risen, but municipal course rates have actually trailed the inflation rate. Tiger Woods alone has involved more youth in the sport than we saw any group of people doing 30 years ago, including caddie programs - which ESPN cites as the primary reason for the lack of African-Americans on tour today.
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