3 Black players mark a major milestone for the Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - There’s still another round to go before someone slips on a green jacket, and already this year’s Masters Tournament is one for the history books.
For the first time ever, three Black golfers are playing in the Masters: Tiger Woods, Harold Varner III and Cameron Champ. And all three of them made the cut.
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It comes after the organization honored Lee Elder, the first Black man to compete in the Masters, by establishing a scholarship program in his name at historically Black Paine College. This week, Augusta National Golf Club recognized the first two recipients of that scholarship, Taya Buxton and Devin Smith.
Augusta National is also fully funding the start of a women’s golf program at Paine in Elder’s name.
Elder was here for the announcement in 2021, but not to see this. He died in November.
No doubt the man known for breaking the color barrier at the Masters would have loved to see Woods, Varner and Champ make history this year.
Champ was there when Elder was honored on the first tee in 2021.
When Woods won his first green jacket, he said that because of what Elder did, he was able to play in the Masters.
Varner says the scoreboard doesn’t see color -- you get there on merit -- but it’s important everyone has access to the game.
Elder’s first Masters was in 1975. He received death threats that first year.
He came back to play five more times.
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