AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) – Not a single blade of grass was out of place at Augusta National when the sun started to set Thursday morning – just as honorary starter Lee Elder threw his driver up in the air at the start of the first day of the historic tournament. A number of his close friends and bosses wore hats with the numbers 1975. It was the year the elder became the first black golfer to play at the Masters. Actor and comedian Chris Tucker was there to support the legendary player.
“Mr. Elder, my gambling dad! I had heard that they had given two scholarships in his name. So that’s just a blessing because he’s always teaching people or even me, trying to teach me how to play golf and giving me great advice, ”Tucker said.
He talks about the Lee Elder Scholarships that Augusta National has created for Paine College which will be awarded annually to a member of the men’s golf team as well as a student-athlete of the women’s team. Arthur Johnson, the elder’s friend, was also at the Masters to show his support. He was actually with Elder at the Masters in 1975. He says Augusta National’s partnership with a historically black college is a step in the right direction to encourage young black golfers. He tells FOX 54 more than likely that he will be involved in the effort at Paine College.
“At one point we had 12 or 14 African Americans going on the PGA tour. Now we’re down to about 3 or 4. So I’m going to make a contribution to try to bring that down to a number of players, “Johnson said.
Tucker and Johnson both have words of wisdom for young black golfers who dream of playing at the masters.
“You know, it takes a lot of hard work behind the scenes to get to places like the Masters. And someone like Lee Elder to reach his level. He worked really, hard through all the obstacles, he stepped over them all to get to where he is today, ”Tucker said.
“The game is there for the catch, but it takes hard work,” Johnson said.
The second round of the Masters continues tomorrow. FOX 54 will continue to keep you updated.
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