African American Hero of the Day

African American Almanac
ISBN: 9781578593231

Who was the PGA champion who was unable to straighten his left arm?

  • Born in Detroit, as a young man he was a farm laborer.
  • He did not start playing golf until he was twenty-three.
  • After leaving high school as a teen, he did not finish high school until he was forty years old.
  • He had twelve victories on the PGA tour, the most before the emergence of Tiger Woods.

Calvin Peete (1943--)


Calvin Peete was born on July 18, 1943, in Detroit, Michigan, into a family of nineteen children. Peete spent time as a farm laborer and peddler and worked along the Eastern coast. He began playing golf at the age of twenty three, and although some saw his inability to straighten his left arm as a handicap, Peete moved directly into a professional career in 1971.

Peete won his first tour victory in 1979 at the Greater Milwaukee Open. In 1982 he won the Greater Milwaukee Open for a second time and also won the Anheuser-Bush Classic, the BC Open, and the Pensacola Open. Hampered by the lack of a high school diploma Peete was not fully accredited by the PGA. With the support of his wife, in 1983 he passed the Michigan Equivalency Examination after leaving school twenty-four years earlier. His accomplishment earned him a Black Achievement Award from Ebony and a Jackie Robinson Award.

Also in 1983 Peete won two more PGA titles, he represented the United States as a member of the prestigious Ryder Cup team, and won the Ben Hogan Award. In 1984 Peete had the best score average on the PGA tour. He retired from professional golf in 2001, and in 2002 he was inducted into the African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame.

From African American Almanac: 400 Years of Triumph, Courage and Excellence by Lean'tin Bracks, (c) 2012 Visible Ink Press(R). A wealth of milestones, inspiration, and challenges met . . .

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