ESPN Network: | | | | ABCSports | EXPN | INSIDER | FANTASY   

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Elder first African-American invited to Masters
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

April 21, 1974

Lee Elder doesn't care to be reminded of his remarkable resemblance to comedian Flip Wilson. He finds the Masters never having invited an African-American even less amusing.

Today, in a remarkable display of pressure golf, Elder puts an end to the Masters' policy. With birdies on the final two holes of the Monsanto Open in Pensacola, Fla., Elder forces a playoff with Englishman Peter Oosterhuis at 10-under-par 274. And then on the fourth extra hole, he triumphs by sinking an 18-foot birdie putt.

Along with the first-place prize of $30,045 is an automatic berth in the previous elite, all-white, by-invitation-only Masters.

Immediately after winning, Elder struggles through a crowd of well-wishers and with tears streaming down his face, he telephones his wife Rose. "Baby, we did it. We finally did it, baby. We finally won."

Five times a tournament runner-up, the 38-year-old Elder leaves things up in the air about accepting the Masters invitation before clarifying the matter later in the day. "I will definitely play in the Masters," he says. "Tell Mr. Roberts (Clifford Roberts, the man who runs the tournament) I'll see him at the Masters."

Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories