Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Woods Makes St. Louisan Glow with Pride

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Woods Makes St. Louisan Glow with Pride

Article excerpt

The irony would be lost on only the ignorant.

Not quite a week ago, Tiger Woods charged back from six holes down in the 36-hole final and chalked up the U.S. Amateur golf title.

Woods' win marked the biggest, most improbable, comeback win ever in the 99-year history of the amateur championship.

It also made him the youngest player to triumph in the tournament, the first to win both the U.S. Junior and U.S. Amateur tournaments and the first African-American to do it.

And for all that, James Buford canceled his round of golf, flipped on his television set and cued up the VCR.

Buford is chief executive officer of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. Besides being a passionate golfer, Buford belongs to Cadre 19, black male professionals who promote golf to African-American youngsters in the St. Louis area.

Woods won Sunday, but Buford was still flush with pride Friday.

"Take the fact that he's an African-American out of the equation," Buford said.

At age 18, Buford continued, Woods already has made a name for himself on the merits of his golf game.

If you add his African-American heritage to the equation . . .

"It was one of the proudest days in our history," Buford said.

Like the day in 1947 that Jackie Robinson became a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers and broke the modern-day color barrier in major-league baseball.

"I'd equate it with that," Buford said.

It may have the same effect.

Robinson showed that blacks could play baseball with anyone. Buford hopes that someday, the same can be said of golf.

Blacks such as Calvin Peete and Lee Elder have had outstanding professional golfing careers. But the Shoal Creek Country Club controversy remains fresh.

Just before the 1990 PGA Championship at Shoal Creek, in Alabama, club founder Hall Thompson uttered the infamous line: "We don't discriminate in every other area but the blacks. …

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