Calvin Peete

Calvin Peete (born July 18, 1943, died April 29, 2015) was an American professional golfer who played on the PGA Tour. He was notable for his successful career despite a late start in professional golf and his unique swing due to a childhood accident. Calvin Peete was born in Detroit, Michigan. He did not start playing golf until he was in his early 20s, much later than most professional golfers. When he was 12 years old, he accidentally fell out of a tree and broke his left arm. The injury was not properly set, which resulted in a permanently bent left arm. Despite this physical limitation, Peete developed a distinctive swing that compensated for his arm’s immobility.

Calvin Peete in 1983

Peete turned professional in 1975 and joined the PGA Tour in 1976. He achieved his first PGA Tour victory in 1979 at the Greater Milwaukee Open. Throughout his career, he won a total of 12 PGA Tour events, with his most successful season being in 1982 when he won four tournaments. Peete was known for his exceptional accuracy off the tee, leading the PGA Tour in driving accuracy percentage for ten consecutive years from 1981 to 1990. His ability to hit the fairway consistently earned him the nickname “Mr. Accuracy.” Despite not being one of the longest hitters, Peete’s precise ball-striking and accurate drives allowed him to compete with the best players of his time.

Calvin Peete follows through on his second shot at No. 18 of the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass during the final round of the 1985 Players Championship. Peete was the first African-American to win the PGA Tour’s marquee event.

In addition to his success on the PGA Tour, Peete represented the United States in the Ryder Cup in 1983 and 1985. He was also a three-time winner of the Vardon Trophy for having the lowest scoring average on the PGA Tour. Calvin Peete retired from professional golf in 2001. He was inducted into the African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2019. Peete’s career serves as an inspiration, showcasing that determination and skill can overcome physical obstacles in sports.

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