Lee Elder, First Black Man To Play At Augusta, To Be Honorary Starter
Lee Elder, the first African-American to play in the Masters, will join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as honorary starters in 2021. “Mr. Elder’s participation in the Honorary Starters Ceremony next April will recognize his courageous life and commemorate all he has done in his career to help eliminate barriers and inspire black men and women in the game of golf and beyond”
Elder, who endured a number of racist incidents throughout his PGA Tour career, made history in 1975 when he became the first black professional to compete at Augusta National. The significance of that achievement is being recognised by the Masters this week, with Augusta chairman Fred Ridley announcing the launch of the Lee Elder Scholarships at nearby Paine College, aimed at creating more diversity in golf in the Augusta area.
“Mr Elder’s participation in the Honorary Starters Ceremony next April will recognise his courageous life and commemorate all he has done in his career to help eliminate barriers and inspire black men and women in the game of golf and beyond,” said Ridley in a statement.
“We hope that by having him serve as an Honorary Starter for the 2021 Masters that he can be joined at the first tee by family, friends and patrons for a moment that will be treasured worldwide.” “The opportunity to earn an invitation to the Masters and stand at that first tee was my dream, and to have it come true in 1975 remains one of the greatest highlights of my career and life,” said Elder, now 86.