Honoring groundbreaking achievements
“Honoring the spirit of advancing diversity in golf aligns with Southern Company’s commitment to being a role model company on issues surrounding racial equity. Renee Powell is a tremendous inaugural recipient of the Charlie Sifford Award presented by Southern Company for the values and character of strength she has shown throughout her life.”
- Tom Fanning, chairman, president & CEO, Southern Company
In 2021, the World Golf Hall of Fame created the Charlie Sifford Award presented by Southern Company. The award honors an individual who personifies legendary African American golfer Charlie Sifford’s groundbreaking achievements through perseverance, confidence, respect and adaptability.
“The creation of this award will establish a platform for celebrating the significance of Charlie Sifford’s contributions to golf in the face of adversity,” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO, World Golf Hall of Fame. “In partnership with Southern Company, the Hall of Fame is committed to ensuring his legacy endures for future generations by recognizing others – like Renee Powell – who are devoted to making the sport a welcoming environment for all.”
Renee Powell will be recognized as the inaugural recipient of the Charlie Sifford Award as part of the World Golf Hall of Fame’s 2022 induction ceremony on March 9. Powell – the second African American woman to ever compete on the LPGA Tour – demonstrated resilience amidst her own obstacles of racial adversity and segregation and dedicated her life to making golf a sport for all.
Powell competed in more than 250 professional tournaments during her career and played as a member of the LPGA Tour from 1967-’80. Since 1995, she has served as the head PGA/LPGA professional at Clearview Golf Club in Ohio. The club’s Clearview Legacy Foundation focuses on education, preservation, and research, utilizing golf as a tool to reach everyone, with an emphasis on youth, minorities, veterans, seniors and other underrepresented groups.
“I’m honored to be the first recipient of this award and to see Charlie Sifford be recognized for breaking down barriers that never should have been put in front of him and all others of color who strived to play this game. I was taught early on by my parents that golf should be a sport for everyone, and we can all diversify this game in so many ways.”
Although he turned professional in 1948, Sifford was excluded from the PGA TOUR until 1961, when he became the first African American to compete as a member. Despite the injustice of having some of his best years behind him, Sifford won the Travelers Championship (1967) and Genesis Invitational (1969) and finished in the top-60 on the money list in his first nine years on TOUR. The Genesis Invitational now offers a tournament exemption each year (in his name) to 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 contributions in breaking barriers for generations of minority golfers who would follow in his footsteps, including Tiger Woods, 2022 Hall of Fame inductee. Sifford also was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2014) prior to his passing in 2015.
“On behalf of the Sifford family, we are immensely proud and honored to have this award established in my father’s name,” said Charlie Sifford Jr. “His skills, perseverance, grit and determination propelled him to continue his dream. His hard-fought efforts paved the way for other minority golfers to pursue their career. This award is honorably illuminated by having a longtime family friend and successful African American female golfer, Renee Powell, as the first recipient. This really is something special.”