April 16, 2024

Calvin Peete, US Ryder Cup Standout, Dies at 71

Award-winning African-American professional golfer, Calvin Peete, passes away at age 71 Award-winning African-American professional golfer, Calvin Peete, passes away at age 71 Photo Credit: Unknown

Before Tiger Woods, there were many successful African-American golfing professionals and it is with sadness that we report that one golfing great has passed away.

African-American professional golfer Calvin Peete died earlier this morning in Atlanta. Peete was 71-years old.

Peete was born in Detroit, Michigan on July 18, 1943, as the eighth of nine children. The son of an auto factory worker, Peete went on to become the most successful black golfer on the PGA Tour gaining 12 PGA Tour wins while Tiger Woods was in elementary school.

He won The Players Championship in 1985 and represented the USA in the Ryder Cups of 1983 and 1985, winning both of his singles matches and finishing with a record of four wins, two defeats and one half.

Peete achieved all this despite playing with a left arm he could not totally extend because of a broken elbow that occurred during a childhood fall, and his permanently bent arm ensured his swing was easily recognizable.

Calvin Peete US Ryder Cup winner passes at age 71 on 04292015Calvin Peete, American Ryder Cup winner, passes away at age 71

He is survived by seven children and his wife Pepper, who said: “Everyone in the family admired and loved him. We are so thankful that he was in our lives as a father, husband and role model. He was a blessing, and he will be missed.”
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said: “Calvin was an inspiration to so many people. He started in the game relatively late in life but quickly became one of the Tour’s best players, winning and winning often despite the hardship of his injured arm.

“I can still remember watching Calvin hit drive after drive straight down the middle of the fairway, an amazing display of talent he possessed despite some of his physical limitations,” Finchem added.

“I can still remember watching Calvin hit drive after drive straight down the middle of the fairway, an amazing display of talent he possessed despite some of his physical limitations,” Finchem continued. “Throughout his life, he gave so much, and we especially noticed it when he moved to Ponte Vedra Beach as he continued to support the community, the PGA Tour, and our various charitable pursuits.

“Calvin will always be remembered as a great champion and an individual who consistently gave back to the game. We will dearly miss him.”

Professional golfer Jack Nicklaus added: "I thought Calvin Peete was a remarkable golfer. He overcame a lot of adversity, including a physical limitation, to become a very, very good golfer.

"He played on my Ryder Cup team in 1983 and he was an excellent team member and player. Calvin helped us to get off to a good start that year with a win in a match that included Seve [Ballesteros], and then in singles, where every point was so critical, he picked up a big victory.

Calvin Peete capturing Pacific Atlanta Classic in 1983 Joe Holloway Jr Associated Press 600x881Professional golfer Calvin Peete after capturing the Pacific-Atlanta Classic in 1983

"Over the years, we played a lot of golf together, and I was amazed at what he could get out of his game. He was an extremely straight driver of the golf ball; a very smart golfer; and, you might say, he was very much an overachiever.

"Off the golf course, Calvin was a tremendously warm and caring man. I always liked Calvin and enjoyed a great relationship with him. We always had fun together.

"Calvin gave so much of himself to the game and to others, and there are countless young men and women whose lives he touched through The First Tee and other organizations, who owe Calvin a debt of gratitude.”

Last modified on Thursday, 30 April 2015 14:49
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