Lee Elder — the first-ever Black golfer to compete in the Masters Tournament — has died, PGA Tour officials announced Monday. He was 87 years old.
No cause of death has been revealed.
Elder was an absolute icon on the golf course — he famously broke The Masters’ color barrier back in 1975, paving the way for generations of future Black golfers.
Elder went on to play in the legendary tournament several more times in his career — logging his best finish at the event in 1979, when he tied for 17th place.
Elder was eventually honored by The Masters this year … when he took part in April’s opening ceremonies with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
Elder received a huge ovation from the crowd as an honorary starter — and images of him smiling alongside Nicklaus and Player have already been etched into history books.
Star athletes and competitive golfers like Tiger Woods and Steph Curry have praised Elder for years — with Curry shouting Elder out in a video message before this year’s Masters event.
“I want to say thank you so much for your life’s work,” Curry said in the video message, “for your legacy, for your inspiration, and blazing a path and overcoming so many obstacles to open up the game of golf for those that deserve to play and for the underrepresented.”
Elder won four tournaments in his PGA Tour career — and carded seven total Top 25 finishes at major events as well.