Smith, who won Masters twice in 1930s, prolonged the exclusion of black professional golfers in PGA events during his spell as president
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 03/07/20 5:39pm
The PGA of America has renamed its Horton Smith Award due to his support of the organisation’s ‘Caucasian only’ membership policy for 27 years.
Smith, winner of two of the first three Masters tournaments, was president of the PGA of America from 1952 to 1954 and refused to allow the inclusion of black professional golfers in PGA-sanctioned events, a policy which was first implemented in 1934.
The whites-only membership clause was finally banished seven years after Smith’s tenure ended. He died in 1963.
Current PGA of America president Suzy Whaley has now announced a change of name for the award, which honours outstanding contributions to professional education.
The PGA of America Board of Directors has voted to rename the Horton Smith Award effective immediately. It will be replaced with the new PGA Professional Achievement Award, honoring a PGA Member for outstanding contributions to professional education.https://t.co/mU7ApXoBLX
— PGA of America (@PGA) July 2, 2020
The annual award, which was first presented in 1965, will now be called the PGA Professional Development Award.
“In renaming the Horton Smith Award, the PGA of America is taking ownership of a failed chapter in our history that resulted in excluding many from achieving their dreams of earning the coveted PGA member badge and advancing the game of golf,” said Whaley.
“We need to do all we can to ensure the PGA of America is defined by inclusion. Part of our mission to grow the game is about welcoming all and bringing diversity to the sport.
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland
“With the new PGA Professional Development Award, we will recognize effective inclusion efforts and honor those across our 41 PGA Sections who continue to promote and improve our educational programs.
“We look forward to doing more of both as we move forward.”