On the phone from his home in Charlotte, N.C., 89-year-old Charlie Sifford was asked what he remembered about his historic achievement on Nov. 10, 1957, at the $11,500 Long Beach Open, when he became the first African-American to win a major golf tournament.
"Remember beating Eric Monti in a playoff," said Sifford, who will be inducted into the Southern California Golf Association Hall of Fame Tuesday along with Amy Alcott at the Sheraton Universal Hotel. "It was sudden death, and took three holes for us to decide the winner. Remember shooting a low round, 64, for the day. Don't remember much else. That was a long time ago."
The cigar-chomping Sifford joined baseball's Jackie Robinson and tennis' Althea Gibson on that memorable day before a record gallery of 5,000 at Lakewood as a racial trailblazer in his sport.
While the Long Beach Open wasn't an official PGA event, it was co-sponsored by the PGA.
Sifford was the only African-American in the Long Beach field, and he competed against such well-known players as Gene Littler, Billy Casper, Jay Hebert, Bo Wininger and Al Besselink.
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