Kevin Hall is the 2017 recipient of the Genesis Open’s Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption and will make his PGA Tour debut next week at Riviera.
Named after Sifford last month, the tournament exemption has been awarded since 2009 and is focused on “representing the advancement of diversity in the game of golf.” Past recipients include Harold Varner III (2014), Carlos Sainz (2015) and J.J. Spaun (2016).
Hall, 34, lost his hearing at age 2 because of H-Flu meningitis. A top-ranked junior player, Hall was the first-ever African American to play on a golf scholarship at Ohio State and now plays professionally on the SwingThought Pro Golf Tour and Advocates Pro Golf Tour.
“I had the privilege to spend time with Mr. Sifford early in my golf career, and I am very aware of his history,” Hall said. “I am very excited for the opportunity to tee it up with the best players in the world and compete in such a prestigious event as the Genesis Open on behalf of the late Charlie Sifford.”
Hall first met tournament host Tiger Woods at a clinic in 1999, and he was also selected by Woods’ foundation to receive an exemption into the 1999 Junior World Golf Championships.
“I’m incredibly proud to honor my hero Charlie Sifford through this exemption into the Genesis Open,” Woods said. “His sacrifices as a pioneer for golf allowed me to play the game.”