Southern Company is the presenting sponsor of the Charlie Sifford Award
Powell receives award at Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in March
NS. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2021) – The World Golf Hall of Fame announced the creation of the Southern Company’s Charlie Sifford Award, recognizing winners for their spirit in promoting diversity in golf. Today marks the anniversary of Sifford’s induction into the Hall of Fame (2004). The first winner is Renee Powell, who will be honored on Wednesday March 9th at the 2022 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony during THE PLAYERS Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
The award honors a person who embodies Sifford’s groundbreaking achievements through perseverance, trust, respect and adaptability. Powell – the second African American to ever take the LPGA Tour – demonstrated resilience amid her own obstacles to racial adversity and segregation and dedicated her life to making golf a sport for all.
“As a teenager, my parents were struggling to get me into tournaments when the color of my skin made me unwelcome to Powell. “I am honored to be the first to receive this award and to see Charlie Sifford recognized for breaking down barriers that should never have been placed on him or any other colored person who has entered the game. My parents taught me from an early age that golf should be a sport for everyone and that we can all diversify this game in a variety of ways. “
Powell participated in more than 250 professional tournaments during her career and played as a member of the LPGA Tour from 1967 to 1980. She has been Head PGA / LPGA Professional at Clearview Golf Club (Ohio) since 1995, which her father – William Powell – founded in 1946 as the first US golf course to be designed, built, built and operated by an African American. The club’s Clearview Legacy Foundation (non-profit) is focused on education, conservation and research, and uses golf as a tool to reach out to all, with an emphasis on youth, minorities, veterans, seniors and other underrepresented groups.
“On behalf of the Sifford family, we are very proud and honored that this award is being given on my father’s behalf,” said Charles Sifford Jr. “My father, my number one hero, just wanted to play the game he loved so much, and, in that quest, as an African American golfer, faced tremendous challenges. His skills, perseverance, courage and determination drove him to continue his dream. He was successful despite having to overcome several barriers to discrimination. His hard-won efforts paved the way for other minority golfers to continue their careers. This award is honored by the fact that a longtime family friend and successful African American golfer, Renee Powell, is the first recipient of the award. That is really something special. “
Southern Company will serve as the Presenting Sponsor of the Charlie Sifford Award and will continue to develop the organization’s role in honoring golf’s greatest figures as the longstanding Presenting Sponsor of the PGA TOUR’s annual Payne Stewart Award.
“At Southern Company, our conduct is guided by the principle that the way we do our jobs is just as important as the energy we deliver every day to fuel the growth and prosperity of nine million customers. During our decades of partnership with golf, we have focused on promoting the importance of values by highlighting and celebrating champions of character, charity and sportsmanship, ”said Tom Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company. “Honoring the spirit of promoting diversity in golf is in line with the Southern Company’s commitment to being a role model for business on racial justice issues. Renee Powell is an eminent inaugural Charlie Sifford Award, presented by Southern Company for the tenacity, trust, respect, and adaptability Renee has shown throughout her life. Their commitment to these values has not only resulted in great achievements and successes in their careers, but has brought the game and the lessons it teaches us all closer to so many underrepresented groups. “
Despite turning pro in 1948, Sifford was banned from the PGA TOUR until 1961 when he became the first African American to join. Despite the injustice of having some of his prime behind him, Sifford won the Travelers Championship (1967) and the Genesis Invitational (1969) and landed in the top 60 money list in his first nine years on the TOUR. The Genesis Invitational now offers a tournament exemption (on its behalf) each year for a player who represents the advancement of diversity in golf. In 2004, Sifford was inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of his historic contribution to breaking barriers for generations of minority golfers who would follow in his footsteps, including Tiger Woods, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2022. Sifford also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2014) before his death in 2015.
“The creation of this award will create a platform to celebrate the importance of Charlie Sifford’s contributions to golf despite the adversity,” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “Working with Southern Company, the Hall of Fame works to ensure that its legacy lasts for generations to come by recognizing others – like Renee Powell – who are committed to making sport a welcome environment for all. “
In addition to Powell, Dick Ferris and Peter Ueberroth will be honored at the induction ceremony in March, who recently received a newly created Lifetime Achievement Award for their services to the sport. Contestants Susie Maxwell Berning and Tiger Woods will be inducted into the newest Hall of Fame class along with contributors Tim Finchem and the late Marion Hollins. The addition of these four people brings the total Hall of Fame members to 164.
The induction ceremony will take place in northeast Florida for the first time since 2013, most recently in California (2019), New York (2017) and Scotland (2015).