Family remembers golf legend who broke color barrier

Family remembers golf legend who broke color barrier
Charles Sifford Jr. fondly remembers the stories his father told. (Source: WOIO)
Charles Sifford Jr. fondly remembers the stories his father told. (Source: WOIO)
Sifford smiles early on in his career. (Source: WOIO)
Sifford smiles early on in his career. (Source: WOIO)
Family members say Sifford was most proud of receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2014. (Source: WOIO)
Family members say Sifford was most proud of receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2014. (Source: WOIO)

Charles Sifford didn't set out to make history, he just wanted to play the sport he loved. But that meant overcoming many obstacles.

"They called him at his hotel room and told him if he showed up the second day, they would shoot him at the golf course," says Sifford's son, Charles Jr.

Sifford Jr. remembers the stories his father told him as a young boy.

He started out as a caddy at a North Carolina country club.

"He just watched people play and picked it up, and just basically taught himself how to play the game," he says.
 
Time spent on the green turned into a professional career.
 
Sifford became the first African-American on the PGA Tour, helping desegregate the sport.
 
That led to winning several PGA events, as well as the PGA Seniors Championship.
 
Sifford was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004.

But the one honor Sifford Jr. says his father was most proud of was receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom last November, just months before he passed away.
 
"He was really excited. He really felt proud, especially getting it from the first black president. I've never seen him smile as much as he did when he was at the White House," he recalls.
 
Sifford played golf until his mid-80s.
  
Gone, but not forgotten. The 92-year-old was a legend who left his mark on the game of golf and beyond.

"If you believe in yourself, have a talent and work hard, given half the chance, you can make it in this world," says Sifford Jr.
 
A funeral for the golf pro will be held in the Cleveland area and Charlotte, NC.

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