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RIP Lee Elder


MattyO1984
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RIP Lee Elder

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Sad to hear indeed

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/lee-elder-barrier-breaking-golfer-dies-at-87/2021/11/29/7faed800-1164-11e6-93ae-50921721165d_story.html 

 

As a hustler, Mr. Elder had played courses on his knees, on one leg or wearing a raincoat on a brutally hot day (albeit with ice-cold towels concealed within) — all manner of outrageous handicaps to rake in a living wage. He made hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars at a clip.

 

 

After fulfilling Army service in 1961, Mr. Elder joined the United Golfers Association (UGA), the sport’s equivalent of baseball’s Negro Leagues. It was sometimes called “The Peanut Tour” because of its small winners’ purses, usually $500.

During one torrid stretch in the early 1960s, Mr. Elder won 21 out of 23 UGA tournaments. At one tournament in Washington in 1963, Mr. Elder met his first wife, Rose Harper, an excellent golfer who became his business manager.

 

 

Robert Lee Elder was born July 14, 1934, in Dallas, the youngest of 10 siblings. His father, a coal-truck driver, was killed during Army service in Europe during World War II. His mother died months later, and he was shuttled among various relatives, eventually winding up with family in Los Angeles.

 

He began caddying at 12 on public courses, making $1 a round while also honing his skills during the hours set aside for caddies to play. “It was something to do rather than running the streets,” he told The Post.

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It's hard to even fathom what it must have been like for him trying to make it as a pro golfer. As exclusive as this sport is and has been over its history, the stuff he had to deal with on and especially off the course in addition to just keeping his head in each round so that he could play his best is amazing.

 

RIP to a true trailblazer.

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Just saw the news. He'll be missed. I remember seeing him be the first African American in the Masters. 1975 (the year I graduated from high school). You younger golfers might not get this, but there was major controversy. He got all manner of horrible, viscous hate mail. Even death threats for goodness sake. He handled it with dignity, integrity, and even humor. He was the Jackie Robinson of golf. He broke the color barrier, and did it with astounding grace and perpetual humility. 

 

He was a major inspiration to Tiger. In fact, to the point that without Lee there might not have been a Tiger. Tiger is 100% about visualization. Imagine what it meant to see a black guy playing Augusta. In the 70s, in America, golf was largely rich white guys (like, 95%). 

 

Almost no one (in the non-golfing world) has even heard of him, but he changed the game. 

 

I'm deeply involved in the First Tee. Kids. Black, Mexican, Asian. They all know who Lee Elder is.

 

I bow to this man, deeply, and from the waist.

 

Look at his face - there is such kindness and understanding in his eyes and smile. My goodness I so would have liked to drink a beer with him, play a round with him.

 

 

Edited by bobfoster
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I wasn't old enough to watch Mr. Elder play but as a Dallas native, his impact on the game of golf especially to black golfers will always be felt.  

When I started getting the golf bug older gentlemen would always bring up his name amongst others (Sifford and Peete) as trailblazers prior to Tiger and learning about his history made me enjoy playing this game with his contributions. I was ecstatic that Augusta National had finally acknowledged his contribution to "growing the game" and his accomplishments. 

 

Rest well Mr. Elder

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V6jr--5aSM

Edited by djcoolaid1914
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56 minutes ago, djcoolaid1914 said:

I wasn't old enough to watch Mr. Elder play but as a Dallas native, his impact on the game of golf especially to black golfers will always be felt.  

When I started getting the golf bug older gentlemen would always bring up his name amongst others (Sifford and Peete) as trailblazers prior to Tiger and learning about his history made me enjoy playing this game with his contributions. I was ecstatic that Augusta National had finally acknowledged his contribution to "growing the game" and his accomplishments. 

 

Rest well Mr. Elder

sddefault.jpg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V6jr--5aSM

THIS.  My dad told me about him years ago, and I'm glad his accomplishments weren't lost to history.  Rest in Peace.

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16 hours ago, NevinW said:

I got to meet him and watch him play in Las Vegas in the late 70's.  Really nice guy and a great ball striker.  

Envious. I have met a few pros, but never got a chance to meet him. Really would have liked to.

 

As a side note - what a beautiful, fortuitous, almost cosmic coincidence that he was the first black man to play the Masters, and this past year he was invited to be an honorary starter (with Jack and Gary) at the last Augusta he would see in his life. Somehow wonderfully fitting.

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