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Clifford Roberts

Clifford Roberts

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Clifford Roberts was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 investment dealer and golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

 administrator.

Biography


Born in Morning Sun, Iowa
Morning Sun, Iowa
Morning Sun is a city in Louisa County, Iowa, United States. The population was 872 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Muscatine Micropolitan Statistical Area.-Geography:Morning Sun is located at ....

, Roberts had a troubled family life as a boy, and left school in the ninth grade. He worked at a great variety of jobs all around the United States, and eventually chose the investment industry for his career. He served as Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club
Augusta National Golf Club
Augusta National Golf Club, located in Augusta, Georgia, is a famous men's golf club. Founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts and designed by Alister MacKenzie on the site of a former indigo plantation, the club opened for play in January 1933. Since 1934, it has played host to the annual...

 from 1931 through 1976, and was named "Chairman in Memoriam" after his death. He also served as Chairman of the Masters Tournament from 1934 through 1976.

An investment banker on Wall Street
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

 from the late 1920s, Roberts was a partner with Reynolds & Company. He was the co-founder with Bobby Jones
Bobby Jones (golfer)
Robert Tyre "Bobby" Jones Jr. was an American amateur golfer, and a lawyer by profession. Jones was the most successful amateur golfer ever to compete on a national and international level...

 of the Augusta National Golf Club
Augusta National Golf Club
Augusta National Golf Club, located in Augusta, Georgia, is a famous men's golf club. Founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts and designed by Alister MacKenzie on the site of a former indigo plantation, the club opened for play in January 1933. Since 1934, it has played host to the annual...

. In the early years, he and Jones personally extended invitations to the tournament. Roberts' friendship with American president Dwight Eisenhower led to the Eisenhowers making Augusta National their retreat during the 1950s.

Roberts was sometimes described as a 'benevolent dictator'. Roberts received many awards and honors during his lifetime, including service on the PGA Advisory Committee from its inception in 1943 until his death, appointment by the United States Golf Association
United States Golf Association
The United States Golf Association is the United States' national association of golf courses, clubs and facilities and the governing body of golf for the U.S. and Mexico. Together with The R&A, the USGA produces and interprets the Rules of Golf. The USGA also provides a national handicap system...

 to serve on the Bob Jones Award Selection Committee, and election to the World Golf Hall of Fame
World Golf Hall of Fame
The World Golf Hall of Fame is located at World Golf Village near St. Augustine, Florida, in the United States, and it is unusual among sports halls of fame in that a single site serves both men and women. It is supported by a consortium of 26 golf organizations from all over the world.The Hall of...

 in 1978. He was the author of The Story of the Augusta National Golf Club, published in 1976, and a subject of a book titled, The Making of the Masters, Clifford Roberts, Augusta National, and Golf's Most Prestigious Tournament, by David Owen
David Owen (author)
David Owen is an American journalist and author. He lives in Washington, Connecticut with his wife, Ann Hodgman, and their two children, Laura and John.-Career in journalism:...

, published in 1999.

It was not until 1975 that Lee Elder
Lee Elder
Robert Lee Elder is an American golfer. He is best remembered for becoming the first African-American to play in the Masters Tournament in 1975.-Background and family:...

 became the first black golfer to play in the Masters Tournament (although he was not the first non-white golfer to compete; Sukree Onsham of Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 played in 1970 and 1971). Roberts is quoted as saying "to make an exception would be practicing discrimination in reverse." Lee Elder later said, "I don't want anything special. I will make it on my own." Another comment attributed to Roberts is: "As long as I'm alive, golfers will be white, and caddies will be black."

Roberts committed suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

by gunshot in 1977 on the banks of the par-3 course at Augusta National.

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