Jack Nicklaus Grieves the Passing of Lee Elder: ‘Pioneer in So Many Ways’

Published 11/29/2021, 3:00 PM EST

Lee Elder was a professional golfer on the PGA Tour who broke through multiple barriers to reach heights in the sport. Tragically, he passed away yesterday, aged 87.

Elder was born in Dallas, Texas. When he was only nine, his father was killed in Germany during World War II. His mother, too, died three months later. Hence, he was raised by his aunt.

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Notably, Lee worked as a caddie for many years until he was drafted into the army. Fortunately for him, his commander was an avid golfer who helped him stay in touch with the sport. Little did he know, Lee would go on to master the craft brilliantly.

He played on the United Golf Association Tour, specifically for black men, where he dominated from the start. However, the PGA Tour lifted its color barrier in 1961, and finally in 1968, after a lot more struggles, he officially qualified for the PGA Tour.

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Jack Nicklaus pays tribute to Lee Elder

Elder is widely recognized as the first African-American man to play at the Masters. However, Nicklaus reminded the world that this was not his only achievement. Considering his upbringing, his childhood, and the series of terrible hardships he overcame, not only to pick up golf but to reach the PGA Tour as well, make him an inspiration for many.

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Remembering him, Jack wrote,Lee Elder was a pioneer in so many ways. Yes, he was the first black golfer to play in @TheMasters, but that simply underlined the hard work Lee put in to further the cause of everyone who has a dream to play on the @PGATOUR and thinks there were too many barriers before them.”

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Undoubtedly, Lee is deserving of the term ‘legend’ as he leaves behind a legacy in the sport, inspiring millions with his journey to the top.

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Ishita Bhargava

392 articles

Ishita Bhargava is a Golf content writer at Essentially Sports. Currently pursuing her undergraduate degree from the Shri Ram College of Commerce, she has a keen interest in sports and fitness. When not playing or watching a sports event, Ishita can be seen spending time with her pets or binge-watching.

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