Bill Wright, the first Black competitor to win a United States Golf Association event in an era when African-Americans were not welcome either in segregated country clubs or in the top amateur and professional ranks, died on Feb. 19 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 84.
His wife and only immediate survivor, Ceta (Smith) Wright, confirmed the death. She said he had a stroke in 2017 and had Alzheimer’s disease.
Wright was attending the Western Washington College of Education (now Western Washington University) in 1959 when he won the U.S.G.A. Amateur Public Links Championship in Denver.
After barely qualifying for match play, he had little trouble in the tournament. His skill on the greens led The Spokesman-Review of Spokane to call him a “slender putting wizard.”