AUGUSTA, Ga.- Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National and Masters, said no one should be disadvantaged in their eligibility and did not go so far as to condemn Georgia’s controversial electoral law that led Major League Baseball to space -Star game up for grabs from Atlanta and other companies to criticize the legislation.
Speaking at his annual pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday at Augusta National, Ridley said, “The right to vote is fundamental in our democratic society. Nobody should be disadvantaged in the exercise of that right, and it is vital that all citizens have confidence in the US to have.” Electoral process. This is fundamental to who we are as a people.
“We recognize that views and opinions differ on this law, and boycotts and other punitive measures have been called for. Unfortunately, these measures often place the greatest burden on the most vulnerable in our society. In this case, our friends are included . ” and neighbors here in Augusta who are at the heart of the positive difference we’re trying to make. “
The 98-page measure was approved on March 25th by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed. Opponents of the law say it will, among other things, restrict access to voting, especially for people of color.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who announced last week that the All-Star game would be rescheduled from Georgia due to the electoral law, is a member of Augusta National. Ridley was not asked about baseball’s stance, and when asked for his personal opinion, he said it shouldn’t affect the discussion.
“I believe and I am confident that every member of this club believes that voting is an essential fundamental right in our society and that – as I said – anything that discriminates against voting is wrong and should be addressed,” said Ridley. “I’m not going to go into the details of the law, but I know that … I think there is a resolution, and I think the resolution will be based on people working together and talking and having a constructive dialogue because This is how our democratic society works. And while I know you would like us to announce this, I just don’t think that this will be helpful in ultimately reaching a solution. “
According to Federal Election Commission records, on Dec. 1, Ridley donated $ 2,800 to Perdue for the Senate and $ 2,800 to the Senate Georgia Battleground Fund. The money was channeled through WinRed, a Republican Party fundraising platform. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler were Republican Senators in Georgia, who each lost in a January 5 runoff election in which the majority in the US Senate switched to the Democratic Party. Georgia was also narrowly won by President Joe Biden in November on then-President Donald Trump’s allegations of election fraud that were unfounded.
Ridley, who has served as the Masters chairman since joining Billy Payne in 2017, has touted the fact that the Masters would honor Lee Elder as an honorary starter Thursday morning. Elder became the first black golfer to compete in the Masters in 1975. He will open the tournament with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
Elder “bravely broke barriers when his name was announced on the first tee,” said Ridley. “And I can’t wait to have the honor of introducing Lee and celebrating his inspiring legacy with our customers and viewers around the world.”
Augusta National is committed to providing two scholarships on Elder’s behalf to the golf programs at Paine College, Augusta, a historically black school. As part of this, the club has committed to starting a women’s golf program from scratch, at any cost required.
Cameron Champ is the only black player in the Masters field of 88 this week. He has done his own job in support of HBCU golf and said he was disappointed with the new Georgia electoral law.
“As you can see, it really targets certain black communities and makes voting difficult, which for me is everyone’s right to vote,” Champ said before Ridley’s press conference. “It’s very shocking to me to see that. Obviously it was a big statement about what MLB and what they did in moving the All-Star Game. I know there are a number of other organizations and companies out there doing things have moved.
“This is a prestigious event and I know it’s busy and people are dealing with it. It was a little frustrating to see that. This week I will definitely be supporting a few things during the week.”