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'The only colour that matters is the colour of the greens' - The pioneering story of William Powell

Dermot Gilleece


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William Powell

William Powell

William Powell

Five miles from where George Floyd was publicly killed recently by Minneapolis police, another black man was accorded the highest honour by the PGA of America. For William Powell it represented amends for the blatant racism he was made to endure through a lifetime in golf.

The scene was the Pantages Theatre in downtown Minneapolis during the week of the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine National. And at 92, Powell joined such legendary figures as Jack Nicklaus, Byron Nelson, Patty Berg, Mark McCormack and Pete Dye as the recipient of the PGA's Distinguished Service Award.

An inevitable by-product of such ceremonies is that while attempting to right a wrong, the organisers expose themselves to stark reminders of grave shortcomings from the not-too-distant past. And the treatment of black players by American golf is especially regrettable.