Lee Elder and the Masters

Lee Elder and the Masters

Every golfer has a dream to play in the Masters once in their lifetime, some achieve this dream very quickly during their 20s while some take time like Lee Elder.
 
Lee Elder had a rough childhood and he became an orphan at age 12 following the death of his father and mother and along with other African Americans, Lee was constantly shifting from one city to another until he got into Los Angeles, California and lived with her aunt.
 
Lee fell in love with the game during his school years and the only way Lee could come near to playing golf was through caddying which he did in his school years later, Lee was drafted into the US Army, he and his Colonel had the same passion for golf and the Colonel allowed Lee to play golf in his spare time and when he returned home, Lee joined the United States Golf Association Tour for black players, a tour specially built for the African American golfers and he was very successful in that tour as during one season Lee won 18 out of 22 events and after earning a good amount of money, Lee decided to play in the PGA Tour and he got qualified to play in the PGA Tour by finishing ninth out of 122 participants in the qualifying school.
 
Lee had a great career in the PGA Tour where he won four events but his first victory at the 1974 Monsanto Open was a life-changing one because that victory gave Lee a chance to compete in the US Masters Tournament by doing so he became the first African American golfer to play in the Masters and for Lee, those five days in Augusta National Golf Club were his greatest time and achieving his life long dream of playing in the Masters at age 41.



Lee Elder playing in 1975 Masters Championship (Photo Credit: Niel leifer/Sports Illustrated)
 
Lee would return to the Augusta National Golf Club five more times and his final Master's appearance came in 1988 where he missed the cut.

1979 US Ryder Cup Team


Lee standing fifth from left (Photo Credit: thefriedegg.com). 
 
Apart from the Masters, his 1979 Ryder Cup was another great achievement which Lee feels was a once in a lifetime opportunity and Lee was blessed to make a Ryder Cup debut at age 45 and luckily the US won the 1979 Ryder Cup.
 
After playing for more than a decade on the PGA Tour, Lee decided to make a shift to the Senior Tour (now, PGA Tour of Champions) from the 1980s and Lee was more successful on the Senior Tour as he won 8 events from 1984-1988. A few years later, Lee called time after playing professional golf for more than two decades.



From the left Lee Elder, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus (Photo Credit: Getty Images).
 
In 2020 November, Lee got a call from the chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club and he asked Lee if he is interested in being an honorary starter for the 2021 Masters which Lee gladly accepted and two days earlier, Lee broke another record by becoming the first African American honorary starter for the Masters along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
[COVER PHOTO CREDIT: AUGUSTA NATIONAL]
 

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April 10, 2021 - By Dhruv Trivedi

When Nike Believed in Tiger Woods

When Nike Believed in Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods and Nike have a long association, dates back to 1996, when Woods made his professional debut and at age 21, Woods was rewarded 40-million-dollar sponsorship deal by Nike and as years passed by Tiger Woods value in the corporate world was increased tremendously following a 13 years long dominance in golf were the American stayed no. 1 for a record 683 weeks.
 
During his peak time, Woods was winning a minimum of five tournaments per year but at the same time he was getting too many injuries and his darkest period was 2009 sex scandal where Woods lost majority of sponsors like A&T INC., Gillette, Buick, Gatorade, Accenture and Tag Heuer.
 
Only a handful of companies choose not to leave Woods during his tough time and Nike was one of them and the next four years was very difficult for Nike to have faith in their brand ambassador Tiger Woods because from 2014-2017 Woods didn’t won a single event and his win tally was stuck at 79 PGA Tour wins and it was difficult to believe that the same man was once chasing Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors (4 more than Tiger Woods) and now he was barely making cuts after 2013, despite all this Nike never deserted him and continued to sponsor Woods. In 2016, Nike stopped making clubs, balls, bags and continued suppling apparel to their athletes (including Tiger Woods) so, Woods had to shift to Bridgestone, Taylor Made and Monster for balls, clubs and bags respectively.
 
An era had passed, it was almost certainty that Woods was not going win another event in his professional golf career and critics were damn sure about it and the year of 2018 was some hope for Woods as he won his first PGA tour event after five years and got a total of seven top ten that year and made a huge leap in Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) to 13 for 2018 year-end rank which was far better than 2017 year-end rank of 657. This was the return of Woods to the international scene after a decade long struggle and 2019 looked promising for Woods.
 
Tiger Woods started 2019 by finishing T20 in Farmers Insurance Open followed by three top thirties and solid T5 finish in World Golf Championship and after having a great outing in his first six tournaments, Woods went to Augusta National Golf Club for season’s first major and to everyone’s surprise Woods won the Masters for the fifth time in his career and his first major triumph in eleven years and finally Nike’s trust was paid off and soon after the victory Nike, made a commercial showing Tiger Woods over the years and the 53 second video said “To think a 43-year-old who has experienced every high and every low, and has just won his 15th major, is chasing the same dream as a three-year-old,” and the dream is to beat Niklaus’s god level record of 18 majors.



Tiger Woods celebrating his 2019 Masters win (Photo Credit: Augusta.com).

Tiger Woods battled all these years of physical and mental pain to become a major champion once again and the partnership that started in 1996 is still going on after 25 years.
[COVER PHOTO CREDIT: MEDIUM.COM]
 

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February 07, 2021 - By Dhruv Trivedi

When the golf community honored Kobe Bryant

When the golf community honored Kobe Bryant

Last year, the sporting world lost a global athlete Kobe Bryant in a Helicopter crash and one week later, PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open was played in Arizona.


Hole 16 flag (Photo Credit: PGA Tour).

2020 Phoenix Open could not have been a better occasion to tribute the basketball legend and after Kobe Bryant’s demise, the PGA Tour installed a special flagstick featuring Bryant’s jersey numbers of 24 and 8 on back and front of the flagstick in the famed 16th hole of TPC Scottsdale.


Tony Finau (Photo Credit: Getty Images).

Players also tried their best to honor Bryant by posting their thoughts on social media and in Phoenix Open many players wore Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers jersey like Tony Finau, Max Homa and other players wore customized shoes in memory of Bryant as Bryson DeChambeau painted purple and gold on the back of his Puma shoes and Tony Finau got Nike Lakers shoes and he also impersonated Bryant’s style of shooting after finding a birdie in the par-3 sixteenth.


(Photo Credit: Getty Images).

We Miss You Kobe Bryant!!
[COVER PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter]


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February 04, 2021 - By Dhruv Trivedi

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