Elder Receives USGA’s Highest Honour

Lee Elder speaks after accepting the Bob Jones Award. Picture by USGA/Jason Miczek

Pebble Beach, California, United States: The United States Golf Association (USGA) has honoured 2019 Bob Jones Award winner Lee Elder.

Presented annually since 1955, the Bob Jones Award recognises an individual who demonstrates the spirit, personal character and respect for the game exhibited by Jones, winner of nine USGA championships.

Elder is its first African American to receive the USGA’s highest honour.

VIPs from the worlds of sports and entertainment attended the dinner to celebrate Elder, including Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Jim Nantz.

In his speech, Player specifically noted Elder’s courage in accepting an invitation to play in South Africa, despite the Apartheid occurring. 

Elder burst onto the PGA Tour in 1968, taking Nicklaus to a play-off in the American Golf Classic. He used his new-found fame to introduce disadvantaged youths to the game through a variety of means, including after-school programmes at Langston Golf Course in Washington, DC and establishment of the Lee Elder Scholarship Fund to help young men and women attend college.

Overcoming personal tragedy and discrimination, he became the first African American to play in the Masters Tournament, as well as the first African American to earn a spot on a Ryder Cup team.

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