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  • The Passing of Charlie Sifford

    by Representative James E. Clyburn

    Posted on 2015-02-04

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    CLYBURN asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. CLYBURN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to note the passing of a great American.



    Golf pioneer Charlie Sifford died last night at the age of 92. Often called the ``Jackie Robinson of golf,'' Sifford wrote in his autobiography, ``Just Let Me Play,'' about his fateful meeting with the man who broke baseball's color barrier: ``He asked me if I was a quitter,'' Sifford wrote.

    ``I told him: `No.' '' ``He said: `If you're not a quitter, you're probably going to experience some things that will make you want to quit.' '' Sifford experienced unspeakable acts of racial abuse, slurs, and threats as he became the first African American to play the PGA Tour.

    Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1922, Sifford worked as a caddie and dominated the all-Black United States Golfers Association, winning five straight national titles. He challenged the PGA's Whites- only rule, and, in 1961, they rescinded it. Sifford won the Greater Hartford Open in 1967 and the Los Angeles Open in 1969. He also won the 1975 Senior PGA Championship. In 2004, he became the first African American inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

    Last year, President Barack Obama awarded Sifford the Medal of Freedom, joining Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as the only golfers to receive our Nation's highest civilian honor.

    [[Page H789]] Tiger Woods, one of the greatest golfers of all time, has often said he may have never taken up the game were it not for the courage, grace, and perseverance of Charlie Sifford.

    Mr. Speaker, Charlie Sifford was not a quitter. He was a hero. He was my hero. May he rest in peace.

    ____________________

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