Lee Elder former American professional golfer dies at the age of 87

Lee Elder Death: Lee Elder, 87-year-old, former American professional golfer who broke the color barrier at the Masters, passed in on Sunday, November 28, 2021, in Escondido, California. He became the first African-American to play in the Master’s Tournament, where he missed the cut in 1975, he was invited to the tournament after he won the 1974 Monsanto Open.

Born Robert Lee Elder on July 14, 1934, in Dallas, Texas, to Charles and Almeta Elder. He was one of the ten children of his parents. At the age of nine, his father was killed in Germany during World War II, and his mother passed away three months later. When he was twelve, he found himself moving from one ghetto to another before he was later sent to Los Angeles, California, to live with his aunt. He frequently skip classes to work as a caddie, and later dropped out after two years at Manual Arts High School.

In 1966 got married to his wife Rose Harper who he met at a golf tournament in Washington, D.C. After getting married, Rose gave up her golfing career to become his manager. They later divorced. Being the first African American to play in the Masters in 1975 Leading up to the tournament, he received substantial amounts of hate mail. During the week of the tournament, he rented two houses in town and kept moving from one to the other, and always had people around him when he went to eat for fear of his safety. At the Monsanto Open in 1968 in Pensacola, Florida, the same tournament at which he claimed his first PGA Tour victory six years later to qualify for the Masters.

Some social media users posted tributes for the legendary golfer

Jack Nicklaus “Lee Elder was a pioneer and in so many ways. Yes, he was the first black golfer to play in the Master’s Tournament, but that simply underlined the hard work Lee put in to further the cause of everyone who has a dream to play on the PGA TOUR and perhaps thinks there were too many barriers before them. It was wonderful that the Master’s Tournament and Augusta National paid a well-deserved tribute to Lee by inviting him to be an Honorary Starter on this last Masters. That morning, you could see the joy in Lee’s face, and Gary Player and I were honored to enjoy that moment with him. That memory will remain special for so many, including me, for many years to come. Lee was a good player, but most importantly, a good man who was very well respected by countless people. The game of golf lost a hero in Lee Elder. Barbara and I send our heartfelt condolences to Lee’s wife Sharon and their entire family.”

Lee Elder’s obituary and memorial will be organized by the family.

 

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