Lee Elder — the first Black man to play the Masters — has died at the age of 87, the PGA said Monday.
Elder was a longtime D.C. resident.
Lee Elder has passed away at the age of 87.
In 1975, he made history as the first African American to compete in the Masters Tournament.
Lee was honored this past April at Augusta National and his legacy will surely live on. pic.twitter.com/1o05rephKt
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 29, 2021
No cause or details were immediately available, but the tour said it confirmed Elder’s death with his family.
A native Texan who developed his game during segregated times while caddying, Elder made history in 1975 at Augusta National, which had held an all-white tournament until he received an invitation after winning the Monsanto Open.
Elder missed the cut but forever stamped himself as a groundbreaking figure in a sport that had never been known for racial tolerance.
Twenty-two years later, Woods became the first Black golfer to capture the green jacket, launching one of the greatest careers in golf history.
This past April, in the wake of social justice protests that roiled the nation, the Masters honored Elder by having him join Jack Nickaus and Gary Player for the ceremonial opening tee shots.
Elder was in poor health and unable to actually take a swing, but he held up his driver proudly at the first tee, clearly moved by the gesture.
“For me and my family, I think it was one of the most emotional experiences that I have ever witnessed or been involved in,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.