By Andrew Both
AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – Boycotts protesting the introduction of a brand new Georgia voting regulation might find yourself hurting the state’s most vulnerable residents, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley mentioned on Wednesday.
Speaking on the unique membership on the eve of the Masters, Ridley indicated that it was full steam forward for a match that’s one in every of males’s golf’s 4 main championships, and arguably probably the most prestigious of all.
“I believe, as does everyone in our organisation, that the right to vote is fundamental in our democratic society,” Ridley informed a information convention. “Nobody should be disadvantaged in exercising that right.
“We understand that views and opinions on this regulation differ, and there have been requires boycotts and different punitive measures.
“Unfortunately, those actions often impose the greatest burdens on the most vulnerable in our society. And in this case, that includes our friends and neighbours here in Augusta who are the very focus of the positive difference we are trying to make.”
Ridley was talking after new voting laws handed by the bulk Republican Party in Georgia that critics say is geared toward making it more durable for Black individuals and different minorities to vote.
The laws prompted Major League Baseball to withdraw this yr’s All Star Game from Atlanta, however Ridley indicated it will be enterprise as normal on the Masters, citing the membership’s dedication to serving to the area people.
Ridley wouldn’t be drawn on his private opinion of the brand new regulation.
“I don’t think that my opinion on this legislation should shape the discussion,” he mentioned.
“I think there’s a resolution, and I think that resolution is going to be based on people working together and talking and having constructive dialogue because that’s the way our democratic society works.
“And whereas I do know you prefer to or us to make a proclamation on this, I simply do not suppose that’s going to be useful to finally reaching a decision.”
Unlike the All Star Game and the NFL Super Bowl, the Masters is played at the same place every year, and moving it away from Augusta would effectively be the end of the tournament.
Even United States President Joe Biden, who approved the moving of baseball’s All Star Game out of Georgia after the new voting legislation was passed, did not call for the Masters to follow suit.
“I believe that is as much as the Masters,” he informed reporters on Tuesday.
Augusta National has pumped cash into the area people in recent times.
In November it introduced a $10 million donation with its company companions to assist revitalize Augusta’s struggling city neighbourhoods and it gave $2 million to assist with coronavirus vaccination efforts within the metropolis.
Augusta National doesn’t launch particulars of its membership, however it’s believed to have about 300 members.
The membership, which opened in 1932, didn’t have a Black member till 1990, and had no feminine member till 2012.
(Reporting by Andrew Both, enhancing by Ed Osmond)