Bill Wright, Who Broke a Color Barrier in Golf, Dies at 84

Winning the general public hyperlinks title earned Wright an exemption to play within the U.S. Amateur Championship later that yr on the Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs. When the white golfers who have been to hitch him for a follow spherical refused to play with him, Chick Evans, who had gained the Open in 1920, invited him to hitch his group. That group included Jack Nicklaus, then 19 years outdated, who would win the occasion.

“I have never forgotten it,” Wright once said of Evans’s gesture in an interview for usga.com. “He came over and made it so I could enjoy the most aristocratic hotel. It was just amazing.”

William Alfred Wright was born on April 4, 1936, in Kansas City, Mo., and later moved with his household to Portland, Ore., and Seattle. His father, Bob, was a mail provider and a talented golfer. His mom, Madeline (Shipman) Wright, was a social employee who additionally golfed.

Wright started enjoying golf at 14; a yr later, he was Seattle’s junior champion. He excelled in basketball and helped his highschool workforce win a state title in 1954.

He graduated from Western Washington in 1960 and that yr gained the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ particular person golf championship. He additionally performed in his first PGA Tour occasion in 1960, however realized how troublesome it was to play a daily schedule with out sponsors.

“There was really no visible hope for people of color to play professionally,” Wendell Haskins, a former director of range for the P.G.A. of America, stated in a telephone interview. “He showed all kinds of promise, but the opportunities for him were limited.”

Because he couldn’t afford to play golf professionally full time, Wright taught sixth grade in Los Angeles for 9 years, then owned a automobile dealership in Pasadena and was the educating professional at the Lakes at El Segundo, a nine-hole municipal golf course, from 1995 to 2017.

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