SPORTS HAVE ALWAYS served as a mirror on society.
Constitutional challenges to strike down Jim Crow laws were working their way to the Supreme Court at the same time Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey was wrapping up his two-year long search for the “right man” with the signing of Jackie Robinson as the first black player to break the color barrier in major league baseball.
Golf is no exception in this regard but the sport took a far longer time to accept players of color as equal competitors than any other major American sport.
I’ll return to this topic later in this column but I need to let you know about some local golf events occurring on the North Olympic Peninsula first.
Here’s some news from Vito DeSantis, the PGA director of golf at Port Ludlow Golf Club.
DeSantis wrote me about two upcoming events at the course, a two-man scramble tournament teeing off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30, and another event in late February with the details still to be ironed out.
For more information on these events, call the course at 360-437-0272 or 888-793-1195.
New Year’s play
Discovery Bay Golf Club Men’s Club members braved the conditions on a wet and blustery New Year’s Day game.
The members played all 18 holes but split the format three ways, with a two-person best ball, two-person alternate shot and a two-person scramble.
Grant Cornelius and Steve Lund claimed the best ball portion; Todd Hulbert and Jason Pruitt notched the alternate shot and Jim Johnson and Dustin Smith won the scramble.
The members play a weekly two-person best ball tournament on Saturdays but also have some other events with different themes on the calendar.
They’ll hold a Valentine’s Day event in February and a St. Patrick’s Day game in mid-March.
For more details about the Discovery Bay Men’s Club, call the course at 360-385-0704.
Port Townsend club
Continuing our jog through Jefferson County, Port Townsend Golf Club is gearing up for the 24th annual Arctic Open sponsored by Marine View Beverages.
The 36-hole, best-ball event is set for Saturday, Feb. 13, and Sunday, Feb. 14.
Get your entries in early because demand is strong for the “biggest tournament of the year,” assistant pro Gabe Tonan said.
Entrants should be prepared for any and all forms of weather.
Call the course at 360-385-4547 to reserve your spot in the tournament.
Tour color barrier
Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed on Monday.
At the same time King was working to further his message of racial equality, Charlie Sifford was working to break the color barrier on the PGA Tour.
He had a love for the game at an early age. Born June 2, 1922, Sifford earned 60 cents a day as a caddie, the only golf-related opportunity available to a black child growing up in North Carolina at the time.
But he managed to hone his game on the side, and, by age 13, he could shoot par golf.
Sifford won the National Negro Open five consecutive times from 1952 to 1956, all the while pushing golf’s color boundaries and enduring racial injustice and epithets.
Not until 1960, when he was 39, did he earn a PGA player card.
A year later — under pressure from the California attorney general — PGA of America, which then ran the PGA Tour, dropped its “Caucasian only” membership clause.
Sifford won twice on the PGA Tour, at the 1967 Greater Hartford Open and the 1969 Los Angeles Open.
He also captured the 1975 PGA Seniors’ Championship and went on to become an original member of the Champions Tour, where he won the Suntree Classic.
In 2004, Sifford again achieved another first for a black golfer.
Of the 100 previously enshrined men and women at the World Golf Hall of Fame, none was black. He was selected via the Lifetime Achievement category for his contributions to the game.
________Michael Carman is the golf columnist for Peninsula Daily News. His column appears on Wednesdays. He can be reached at 360-417-3527 or email@example.com.