Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Charlie Sifford (l) holds the 1909 US Open Championship trophy and LPGA (l) shoots a pair of eagles
The head of the United States Golf Association (USGA) has announced the creation of a Charlie Sifford Award for “celebrating and recognising the spirit in advancing diversity in golf”.
The first edition will be the PGA Championship and will be awarded to a member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) who has gone “above and beyond to promote inclusivity, inclusion and respect in golf”.
“We have such a great foundation to build on, and we can and will take that foundation even further,” said Michael Davis.
He went on to pay tribute to the late former LPGA vice-president and black golfer Sifford, describing him as “one of our most influential champions”.
Sifford made his debut on the PGA Tour in 1949 at age 21 and finished his career as one of its most successful players, winning 10 times on the circuit.
He won 14 career tournaments on the LPGA Tour and its predecessor, the Colonial, and has been instrumental in promoting the game of golf for decades through philanthropy and promotion of the sport to schools and organisations.
The Charlie Sifford Award “reflects both of these passions”, said Davis.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Charlie Sifford in 1956
“Through his life and work, Sifford contributed to golf and society in profound ways. Whether by helping introduce young people to the game, using his financial resources to preserve historical treasures in his hometown of North Carolina, or standing up for racial equality, Charlie Sifford stood for something special.
“This award will acknowledge and honour someone who epitomises the spirit of Charlie Sifford, which is character, values, and advocacy. He will be revered for his countless achievements in golf and beyond, and for inspiring us all to ‘get out there, make a difference and live a life of character’.”
The PGA Championship will be the third major for the award, which will also be handed out in the 2019 and 2020 versions of the event.
“It’s an exciting addition to the PGA Championship that will recognise and celebrate the dedication and passion of players who continue to advocate for diversity, inclusion and respect in golf,” said Peter Dawson, the PGA Championship’s executive director.
The Charlie Sifford Award was established as a joint initiative by the LPGA and the USGA.