The Evian Championship, hosted annually by the French city of Evian in the PGA Tour’s George M. Steinbrenner Amateur Championship in Lake-de-France, has been transformed into the Charlie Sifford Award, honoring the importance of diversity in advancing the sport.
The Sifford award was first given to two African American golfers, Jerry Pate and Ben Hogan, in 1985 during the annual George M. Steinbrenner Amateur Championship. The Evian Championship was intended to celebrate the legacy of Hogan and Pate, an all-time great PGA Tour player and champion. This year the award will be given to golfers at any level and prove that the sport is not so serious about diversity that it will overlook those players with the “spirit in advancing diversity” in golf.
To hold up for a portion of the criteria, the Evian Championship will forgo its award in all four tournaments of the 2017-18 PGA Tour season, according to Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA Tour.
“We’re not giving them an award this year, and we don’t intend to for the foreseeable future,” Finchem said to GolfChannel.com on Tuesday. “We’re giving the two of them it after this year because their work is important. And our hope is that there is a deserving player this year who’ll be a person of the year.”
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Past recipients of the award include Tiger Woods, a four-time winner at the Evian Championship and 2019 PGA Tour player of the year nominee, who was named earlier this month by the Golf Channel as one of five finalists for the John Player Championship, as well as PGA Tour rookies Daniel Berger and Paul Casey, and first-time PGA Tour winner Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela. PGA Tour Director of Development Steve Swigert and GolfChannel.com contributing writer and first-time PGA Tour winner, Tiger Woods, will serve as honorary co-chairs of the 2019 Charlie Sifford Award.
“It’s great to see golf accepting diversity,” Bernard McNeil, former PGA Tour vice-president and Diversity and Inclusion Manager for the PGA Tour, said in a press release. “Suffice it to say, I never thought I’d say this, but it seems that we have a growth spurt going on in golf as its largest tournament, the Evian Championship, is now acknowledging the importance of diversity.”