First Afro-American Golfer Lee Elder Dies At The Age Of 87!! Find Out About His Career, Net Worth, & Personal Life

The golf world mourns as it lost one of the legendary players, Lee Elder died on 28th November 2021. The 87-year-old passed away in Escondido, California after an illustrious career. 

Elder was the first African-American to take part in the Masters tournament in 1975 breaking the racial barriers on the pro golf tour. Here we will talk more about his career achievements and family. 

Pro Golfer Lee Elder Dies At The Age Of 87

Robert Lee Elder passed away on 28th November 2021 at the age of 87 in Escondido, California. As per reports, he died during a visit to his step-daughter Dory's home in San Diego with his wife Sharon Elder. 

Although no details about the reason for his death are available at the moment, a source close to the family revealed that Elder had been experiencing respiratory difficulties for a while. 

Lee CAPTION: Professional golfer Lee Elder passed away at the age of 87 on 28th November 2021 SOURCE: Twitter @garyplayer

The source added: "I talked to him on Thanksgiving and he sounded really strong, in good spirits, This is really difficult. He was like a big brother to me. … we were the best of friends."

After the sad news was announced, tributes and condolence messages are pouring towards his family and friends at loss. 

Likewise, he is being remembered as a 'hero' for breaking the racial barrier and becoming the first black man to compete at the Masters. 

Let Us Go Through Lee's Career Achievements

Elder began playing golf at the young age of 16 although he did not play a full round of 18 holes at that time. He worked as a caddie and developed his game by watching his clients playing and playing himself when he had the opportunity. 

His career took a huge turn after playing a match with heavyweight boxer Joe Louis. The match eventually led Louis' instructor Ted Rhodes to take him under his wings for three years polishing his game. 

In 1959, Lee was drafted into the Army and was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington. Luckily, he was under the command of Colonel John Gleaster who was an avid golfer, and put him in a Special Services unit allowing him to play golf on a steady basis. 

After departing from the army in 1961, he joined the United Golf Association winning 18 of 22 consecutive tournaments. 

In 1974, Elder won his first win on the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) Tour at the Monsanto Open gaining him an entry to the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. 

Lee CAPTION: Elder became the first African American golfer to compete in Masters Tournament in 1975 SOURCE: Twitter @garyplayer

In 1975, he became the first African American to compete in the Masters Tournament since the tournament began forty-one years ago in 1934 which was only "for members of the Caucasian race". 

After he competed in the tournament, he received a huge amount of hate mail, calls, and threats. Once, a spectator picked up Elder's ball on a hole and threw it in a hedge during a tournament. Thankfully, another pro golfer had witnessed the incident and Elder was given a free drop. 

The late golfer played in the Masters six times throughout his lifetime. His top finish a tie for 17th place was in 1979. Likewise, he won four PGA Tour events and finished the second 10 times. 

Playing regularly since 1989, he earned around $1.02 million in purses. Likewise, he also played for the U.S. team during the 1979 Ryder Cup. 

In 1984, he joined the PGA Senior Tour (now the Champions Tour) winning eight times and earning more than $1.6 million. Moreover, he won four tournaments overseas. 

Philanthropy & Charity Works

In 1974, Lee and his then-wife Harper founded the Lee Elder Scholarship Fund developed to offer financial aid to low-income young men and women seeking money for college. 

Likewise, in 1990, he spoke out against country clubs that still excluded Black golfers from membership. 

In addition, he actively promoted Summer Youth Golf Development Programs and raised money for the United Negro College Fund. 

In April 2021, he took part in a decades-old Masters tradition alongside Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.