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Honoring golfing legend Charlie Sifford, who paved the way for people of color in golf

Travelers Championship wanted to pay respect and honor to Sifford on the anniversary of his 100th birth year.

WETHERSFIELD, Conn — The Travelers Championship hosted the Charlie Sifford Centennial Celebration Golf Outing at Wethersfield Country Club on Tuesday, to honor Sifford's legacy of paving the way for people of color to get into the sport of golf. 

Sifford's eldest son, Charles Sifford Jr. said he's proud of the contributions his father had to the sport and said his work is still ongoing. 

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"It makes me proud," said Sifford Jr. " He was the first African American to become a member of the PGA and be inducted into the PGA hall of fame." 

Sifford secured his first PGA TOUR win at Wethersfield in 1967. Julia Sifford, Sifford's granddaughter, said his influence was even greater than the titles he holds. 

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"I knew him as granddad you know. I didn't know him as the golfer," said Julia. 

However, Julia said she knew the impact and determination he had to make a difference in the sport. 

"And through all the things he experienced such as death threats, and individuals putting feces in holes, he still decided to play because that's wanted to play and he never would give up," Julia explained. 

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This is why the Travelers Championship wanted to pay respect and honor to Sifford on what would have been his 100th birthday.

"Talent is universal but opportunities are not. What better person to exemplify that is Charlie Sifford. He has the talent but the opportunities were limited. So what we're doing today is trying to enhance those opportunities," said Greg Jones a Board Member at Travelers. 

His family said seeing events like this is a testament to his career. But the most significant thing they want people to remember about the Sifford name is not just golf but the will to persevere through adversity.

"Keep on pushing forward because nothing is easy, you got to work hard at it and for minorities, you'll probably have to work twice as hard as other people to be able to get to that point," said Charles Sifford Jr. 

Funds from the day's event went towards The Dr. Charles L. Sifford Scholarship, which will help cover college tuition for students who attend a historically Black college or university, or for minority students focusing their education on a golf management program. 

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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