WME Legends has signed a deal with JLMP to co-represent the estate of Dr. Charles “Charlie” L. Sifford, the first Black PGA Tour golfer and PGA Hall of Famer.
The announcement comes on what would’ve been Sifford’s 99th birthday. JLMP brokered the deal on behalf of the estate for WME to co-represent the late athlete’s assets including name, likeness, life and IP rights worldwide.
Sifford, who is often referred to as “The Jackie Robinson of Golf,” was the first African American athlete to earn a PGA Tour card and the first Black golfer to be inducted into the World Gold Hall of Fame in 2004. Sifford died in 2015 at the age of 92.
As part of WME and JLMP’s objective to bring Sifford’s story to a new generation, the companies plan to honor the athlete’s legacy (and his 2022 centennial celebration) with the re-release of his autobiography “Just Let Me Play.” The companies have also brokered a deal with Emmy-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson to produce and direct a feature-length documentary on Sifford’s life.
As an athlete, Sifford blazed a trail for future generations of Black golfers, including Tiger Woods, who referred to Sifford as “the grandpa I never had,” when accepting his Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019. Sifford received the same honor in 2014 from President Barack Obama.
Though Sifford was the first non-white golfer to play in a PGA Tour event, he was originally barred from being a PGA Tour member due to the organization’s “Caucasian-only” membership clause. After the PGA Tour formally terminated this clause, Sifford was issued an “approved player” card in 1960 (which allowed him to play tournaments as a 39-year-old rookie) and in 1963, he became a full member. Over the course of his career, Sifford’s victories netted the athlete more than $1.2 million and earned him a spot among the top 60 money winners through the 1960s. Among other notable accomplishments, Sifford was also a six-time UGA National Negro Open champion and was bestowed an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree by the University of St. Andrews in 2006.
WME established its celebrity estate division in March, with additional clients including the Notorious B.I.G., “Saturday Night Live” alum Andy Kaufman, the legendary NYC CBGB nightclub, Eartha Kitt, Agatha Christie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Donna Summer, August Wilson, Isaac Asimov, Edward Albee, Abe Burrows, Peter Tosh, Terrence McNally and Ram Dass’ Love Serve Remember Foundation.
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