10 African-American golfers who won championships

Humble beginnings What he has won: $91.5 million Breaking boundaries When Titleist introduced the first hybrid clubs for professional golfers in the 1980s, Amos Tate used a black wood and titanium wood club from…

10 African-American golfers who won championships

Humble beginnings

What he has won: $91.5 million

Breaking boundaries

When Titleist introduced the first hybrid clubs for professional golfers in the 1980s, Amos Tate used a black wood and titanium wood club from Air Pig Golfing Club in Arizona. He was the only African-American playing PGA Tour golf in 1989 when he won the PGA Titleist Championship and set the first-ever scoring record at a PGA Tour event: 16 under par. Before his debut in 1989, many of the early champions of the PGA Tour were white, including Fuzzy Zoeller, Tommy Aaron, Johnny Miller, Ken Venturi, and Arnold Palmer. (Zoeller, Aaron, Miller, and Palmer were all later inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.)

In 1985, Tate played against Tiger Woods in the Fedex Cup Qualifying Tournament, as Woods was only 4 years old at the time. Tiger won that tournament in 1986, and Tate was left out of qualifying altogether. In the following months, Tate was also denied membership into the World Golf Organization, the Legends Tour, and the American LPGA Tour. Tate said when he was denied membership, he knew it was his only path to earning a career in professional golf. “Just sitting in the clubhouse there watching them from far away was uncomfortable,” Tate told PGA.com.

In 1989, Tate learned that he was going to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. He was the only player in the history of the organization to be inducted without ever winning a tournament. “I’m happy to know that I was the first to get in without winning, and I’m grateful that some of the other great players who have been inducted are in there,” Tate said.

Fun facts

1. Callaway

2. Jimmy Vesey

3. Bruce Arena

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