I just finished watching “Uneven Fairways,” a documentary on Golf Channel about the heartbreaking efforts of African American golfers to make a living in the game. Banned from the PGA and the tour because of a “Caucasian-only” clause in the PGA bylaws, they formed the United Golf Association, which was the “Negro Leagues” of golf. That league produced talents such as Charlie Sifford, Ted Rhodes, Pete Brown, Lee Elder and Bill Spiller.
That these incredibly talented golfers were not allowed to compete as PGA professionals is sad beyond reckoning. Imagine how much richer the game would be if they had been accorded full opportunities.
There’s also a Michigan connection here. Joe Louis, who grew up in Detroit, used his fame as a boxer to help break golf’s color barrier. In 1952, he played as an amateur in the San Diego Open.
I think this is must-watch television.