Family of black golf legend Sifford sentenced for stealing over $1 million

August 19, 2016 3:41 PM EDT

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(Reuters) - The son and former daughter-in-law of the first African-American golfer on the PGA Tour have been sentenced to prison for stealing more than $1 million belonging to the legend of the game, Charles Sifford, Ohio officials said on Friday.

Craig Sifford, Charles Sifford's son, was sentenced on Thursday to three years in prison and former daughter-in-law Sandra Sifford has been sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison, the Ohio attorney general's office said in a statement.

Charles Sifford, who died in February 2015 in Cleveland at the age of 92, was the first African-American to compete in Professional Golfers' Association-sanctioned events in 1961. He was often compared to Jackie Robinson, who broke professional baseball's color barrier.

An investigation of the pair was launched while Sifford was still alive. The two spent money meant for Charles Sifford's care on items such as travel, dining, clothes, jewelry and landscaping between 2010 and 2013, the office said.

“Charlie Sifford trusted these family members while they helped themselves to their inheritance," said Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Paul Soucie.

"That man, that American, that legendary golfer, deserved better than that."

Tiger Woods has often credited Sifford for paving the way for Woods' own golfing path, and affectionately called him "grandpa." Sifford was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom about two years ago.

He won twice on the PGA Tour, with his first title at the 1967 Greater Hartford Open and the second at the 1969 Los Angeles Open.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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