Atlanta – Trailblazing black golfer Calvin Peete, the most successful African-American player before the Tiger Woods era, died Wednesday aged 71, PGA Tour chiefs confirmed.
Peete, who overcame a debilitating childhood arm injury to win 12 PGA Tour titles during a successful career which peaked in the early 1980s, died in hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Calvin was an inspiration to so many people,” Commissioner Tim Finchem said on the PGA Tour’s website.
“He started in the game relatively late in life but quickly became one of the Tour’s best players, winning and winning often despite the hardship of his injured arm.”
Peete was popularly nicknamed “Mr Accuracy” for his metronomic ability to hit long and accurate drives.
“I can still remember watching Calvin hit drive after drive straight down the middle of the fairway, an amazing display of talent he possessed despite some of his physical limitations,” Finchem said.
Peete’s heyday came during a four-year streak between 1982 and 1986 when he recorded 11 of his 12 tournament victories.
His success came despite his inability to properly extend his left arm, a condition which arose after a broken elbow sustained in childhood when a cast was set incorrectly.
Peete’s best finish in a Major was a joint third place in the 1982 PGA Championship.
Peete was a member of US Ryder Cup teams in 1983 and 1985, compiling a 4-2-1 record, won the Vardon Trophy for lowest stroke average in 1984, and in 1985 added the The Players Championship to his wins list.