Tiger Woods announces Tim O’Neal as the 2019 Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption
Tiger Woods has announced Tim O’Neal as the recipient of the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption for the 2019 Genesis Open. Awarded since 2009, the exemption has represented the advancement of diversity in the game of golf. 2019 marks the 50thanniversary of Sifford’s 1969 LA Open victory, his second and final PGA TOUR victory.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Tim compete in the Genesis Open,” Woods said. “Like Charlie did as a player, Tim has shown great determination in his professional career. I know Charlie would be proud to have Tim playing in the Genesis Open as the Charlie Sifford exemption.”
At the Genesis Open, O’Neal, 46, will be making his seventh-career PGA TOUR start, and his first since 2015, when he advanced from sectional qualifying to play in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. O’Neal has three career PGA TOUR Latinoamérica victories, most recent coming in 2016, and he has also carded victories at the 2018 Georgia Open and the 1997 Georgia Amateur Championship.
In 2018, O’Neal played on the APGA Tour where he earned Player of the Year honors after one win and four top-five finishes. 2018 marked the second time O’Neal has won the APGA Tour’s Player of the Year and he remains the tour’s all-time leading money winner. Over the course of his professional career, O’Neal has played on the PGA TOUR, the Web.com TOUR, the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica circuit and had stints on the APGA Tour, Asian Tour, European Professional Development Tour in Morocco and the eGolf Tour in the U.S.
“In 1999 I had the opportunity to play a round of golf with Mr. Sifford and he has had huge influence on me,” O’Neal said. “Mr. Sifford has been an example on how to carry yourself on and off the golf course. I am extremely humbled and grateful to have received the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption for 2019 Genesis Open.”
Since 2009, the exemption has been given to a golfer representing a minority background to play in the annual PGA TOUR event at Riviera. In 2017, the exemption was re-named to honor the memory of Charlie Sifford, the first African-American player to compete on the PGA TOUR. Previous exemption recipients include Vincent Johnson (2009), Joshua Wooding (2010), Joseph Bramlett (2011), Andy Walker (2012), Jeremiah Wooding (2013), Harold Varner III (2014), Carlos Sainz, Jr. (2015), J.J. Spaun (2016), Kevin M. Hall (2017) and Cameron Champ (2018).
A full list of the 2019 Genesis Open field will be announced on Friday, February 8. Tickets for the 2019 Genesis Open are now on sale.