Get to know Lee Elder, the 2021 Masters Honorary Starter who became the first black golfer to play in The Masters

17 Things You Don’t Know About Lee Elder

1. He was born in Dallas, Texas and was the youngest of 8 siblings

2. Both of his parents died by the time he was 7-years-old

3. His father died in World War II

4. He got into golf because one of his brothers was a caddie. He got a job at the golf club collecting stray balls and became a caddie when he was big enough

5. He started playing on the United Golf Association tour, which was an African-American tour away from the PGA, which didn’t allow black golfers to play until 1961

6. He joined the PGA Tour in 1968 after raising enough money for Q-School in 1967

7. Despite playing on the PGA Tour, he still suffered racism. He was penalised during a tournament in Memphis, Tennessee after a spectator took his ball from the fairway, and he had to change in the car park in a Florida tournament as black people were not allowed in the clubhouse

8. He qualified for the 1975 Masters after winning the 1974 Monsanto Open at Pensacola in Florida, his maiden PGA Tour title

9. He went on to win four PGA Tour titles and had eight Senior PGA Tour victories. He also won the 1971 Nigerian Open and 1984 Jamaican Open

10. He was 40 when he made his Masters debut, which was probably too old for him to mount a challenge for victory. He missed the cut although he did manage a T17 and T19 in six Masters appearances

11. Whilst the fanfare for him was very positive, he did receive death threats leading up to The Masters and he rented two houses in Augusta during the week to share his time between for safety

12. He was on-site to watch Tiger Woods’ 1997 Masters victory, where Woods became the first black golfer to win the tournament. “Lee Elder meant a lot to me because he was the first. He was the one that I looked up to and because of what he did, I was able to play and to live my dream,” Woods said.”

14. His best Major finishes were T11s at the 1974 PGA Championship and 1979 US Open

15. His PGA Tour earnings were $1,020,415

16. He will join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as an Honorary Starter for the 2021 Masters

17. Upon announcing Elder as an Honorary Starter, Augusta National announced the creation of the Lee Elder Scholarships at Paine College, a Historically Black College and University located in Augusta. Two scholarships will be awarded annually, one each to a student athlete who competes on the men’s and women’s golf team. As part of this effort, Augusta National also will fund the creation of a women’s golf program at Paine

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