Successful the general public hyperlinks title earned Wright an exemption to play within the U.S. Novice Championship later that yr on the Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs. When the white golfers who have been to hitch him for a observe 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 That group included Jack Nicklaus, then 19 years outdated, who would win the occasion.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’ve by no means forgotten it,” Wright once said of Evans’s gesture in an interview for usga.com. “He came to visit and made it so I may get pleasure from probably the most aristocratic lodge. It was simply wonderful.”
William Alfred Wright was born on April 4, 1936, in Kansas Metropolis, Mo., and later moved along with his household to Portland, Ore., and Seattle. His father, Bob, was a mail service and a talented golfer. His mom, Madeline (Shipman) Wright, was a social employee who additionally golfed.
Wright started taking part in golf at 14; a yr later, he was Seattle’s junior champion. He excelled in basketball and helped his highschool crew win a state title in 1954.
He graduated from Western Washington in 1960 and that yr gained the Nationwide Affiliation of Intercollegiate Athletics’ particular person golf championship. He additionally performed in his first PGA Tour occasion in 1960, however discovered how troublesome it was to play a daily schedule with out sponsors.
“There was actually no seen hope for individuals of coloration to play professionally,” Wendell Haskins, a former director of range for the P.G.A. of America, stated in a cellphone interview. “He confirmed every kind of promise, however the alternatives for him have been restricted.”
As a result of 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 instructing professional at the Lakes at El Segundo, a nine-hole municipal golf course, from 1995 to 2017.