March 26, 2015 – Tiger Woods has made a $10,000 donation to launch a scholarship fund at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in tribute to Charlie Sifford, who broke the US PGA Tour color barrier.
Sifford, who died last month at age 92, was an African-American golf pioneer who joined the PGA Tour in 1961 after twice playing in the US Open. He faced racial insults and threats yet won two titles, the 1967 Greater Hartford Open and 1969 Los Angeles Open.
Woods, a former world number one who has won 14 major titles, credits Sifford with paving the way for his career.
Woods’ gift will launch the Sifford Fund, to create need-based scholarships to “students who demonstrate a passion for the game of golf… and who are from populations underrepresented in the golf industry,” according to a posting on the school’s website.
Maryland Eastern Shore is the only historically black US university that offers a bachelor’s degree in professional golf management accredited by the PGA of America. The program now has 44 students, more than half of them women or ethnic minorities.
“The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is honored to accept this generous gift from Tiger Woods to support our professional golf management program and to partner with us in acknowledging Dr. Sifford’s role as a sports pioneer,” university president Juliette Bell said.
Woods called Sifford “the grandpa I never had” and said, “without Charlie Sifford, and the other pioneers who fought to play, I may not be playing golf. My Pop may not have picked up the game and maybe I wouldn’t have either”.