Calvin Peete, the most successful African American on the PGA Tour prior to Tiger Woods has passed away. He had twelve wins, and in 1984 won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average. He played on two Ryder Cup teams with a record of 4-2-1.
Peete was born in Detroit, Michigan on July 18, 1943. Pete did not begin playing golf until he was 23. He was introduced to the game at the public course Genessee Valley Park in Rochester, New York. In spite of (or perhaps because of) an improperly set broken arm he suffered as a child, Pete led the PGA TOUR in driving accuracy for ten years, from 1981 – 1990. Peete’s elbow was actually fused, and Butch Harmon has said that allowed him to consistently return the clubface to the ball.
Peete also reportedly had Tourette Syndrome, which is characterized by motor and vocal tics. He said that it was responsible for his retirement from the Champions Tour in 2001.
Peete’s best finishes in the Majors were a T11 at the Masters in 1986, a T4 at the US Open in 1983, and a T3 at the PGA Championship in 1982. He won the 1985 Tournament Players Championship.
A video of his swing is below: