NEW YORK (Reuters) - The PGA of America Board of Directors said it had renamed its Horton Smith Award, which was named for a former PGA president who supported a “Caucasian-only” membership clause.
Smith defended the policy during his tenure as PGA president from 1952 through 1954. The policy was dropped in 1961.
“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,” PGA President Suzy Whaley said on Thursday.
The PGA will replace the Horton Smith Award with the PGA Professional Development Award, which recognises “outstanding contributions to professional education” by PGA members.
Smith, who won the first Masters tournament in 1934 and triumphed again in 1936, was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1990. He died in 1963.
Other U.S. professional sports organisations removed plaques and statues honoring racist figures in the weeks following the death of Black man George Floyd in police custody, which prompted protests against racial inequality across the country.
The Washington Redskins pulled a memorial honoring late owner George Preston Marshall, who fought against the integration of the National Football League, amid renewed calls for the NFL team to change its name, which is widely viewed as a slur against Native Americans.
The MLB’s Minnesota Twins removed a statue that honored late owner Calvin Griffith because of racist remarks he made decades ago.
Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.