The former South African winner Dave McNeill will be recognised with a section at the gallery at next month’s European Tour World Championship.
The 58-year-old inspired Tiger Woods to compete in golf’s opening major, the Masters, as a 14-year-old junior and is believed to be the first black professional in the sport’s history.
The section of the venue will also honour McNeill’s teammate Gary Player, the first and so far only black golf champion in South Africa, along with the late Colin Montgomerie and Monty’s wife Eileen Montgomerie.
“It’s an honour to be recognised by the European Tour, and especially for the recognition of my late teammates Gary Player and Colin Montgomerie,” McNeill said. “Those were great times and we all had a blast and were competitive against each other. To be able to be recognised by one of the biggest tours in the world for that would be fantastic.”
McNeill won the South African Open as a 17-year-old amateur in 1979 and continued his love affair with the game by winning two European Tour events before becoming the first black player on the board of the South African Golf Union.
“It’s exciting to see the legacy that Dave has created since his days as a professional and then continued playing and teaching golf since then,” Player said. “Dave has made a genuine contribution to the sport not only in South Africa but the world over. He has always admired me and although I look up to a lot of the legends of golf there is nobody that gives more back than Dave.”
The European Tour’s managing director, Keith Pelley, said: “Golf has made great progress since Dave first started playing and then eventually became a professional in 1976. We’re proud to recognise the achievements of this true pioneer and we’re happy to have him as a first-hand witness at the events at Leopard Creek Country Club.”