PGA of America renames Horton Smith Award due to his support of 'Caucasian-only' membership

Yahoo Sports

The PGA of America’s Horton Smith Award is no more.

The organization’s board voted to rename the long standing award — which honors a PGA of America member for outstanding contributions to professional education — on Thursday due to former PGA of America president Horton Smith’s defense of the “Caucasian-only” membership clause.

“In renaming the Horton Smith Award, the PGA of America is taking ownership of a failed chapter in our history that resulted in excluding many from achieving their dreams of earning the coveted PGA member badge and advancing the name of golf,” PGA of America president Suzy Whaley said, via the Associated Press

“We need to do all we can to ensure the PGA of America is defined by inclusion. Part of our mission to grow the game is about welcoming all and bringing diversity to the sport.”

Smith served as PGA of America president from 1952-54. The “Caucasian-only” clause was part of the organization’s bylaws, per the Associated Press, from 1934-1961. 

Smith won 30 times on the PGA Tour — which is separate from the PGA of America — himself, including eight wins during the 1929 season alone. He won the Augusta National Invitation, which later became The Masters, twice, too. Smith, who died in 1963, was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1990. 

With Smith’s name off the award, the PGA of America has renamed the honor to the PGA Professional Development Award. Michael Jacobs, a pro at Rock Hill Golf Club in New York, won the award this year. 

The Horton Smith Award was officially renamed to the PGA Professional Development Award on Thursday. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)
The Horton Smith Award was officially renamed to the PGA Professional Development Award on Thursday. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

More from Yahoo Sports:

What to Read Next