I've been amused by the misguided campaign for a Masters protest of Georgia's voter suppression law.
Even sophisticated writers like the Atlantic's Jemele Hill have the misconception that the PGA tour runs the Masters, as Major League Baseball does the All-Star game. The PGA has nothing to do with the tournament. The annual "tradition like no other" is put on by the private and exclusive Augusta National Golf Club.
Some even called for the Masters to be moved, as Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred switched the all-star game from Atlanta to Denver. That will never happen. The Masters would no longer be the Masters if not played at Bobby Jones' hallowed course.
No sporting event is more defined by its venue than the Masters is by Augusta National. The U.S. Open, PGA and British Open move to different courses each year. The Masters is always played at Augusta National. The tournament is intertwined with the Amen Corner, the Green Jacket, legendary holes like the par 3 12th.
Masters Chairman Fred Ridley at his news conference Wednesday supported voting rights without directly opposing Georgia's law. Like voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams, Ridley also opposed boycotts. As Ridley said, many average Augusta residents benefit from the tournament. Some pay their mortgages by renting their homes for the week.
There's no doubting Augusta National's continuation of the Southern plantation myth. Founding Chairman Cliff Roberts, a notorious racist, resisted inviting black players to participate in the tournament for years. The club also fought efforts to open its membership to blacks and women, once putting on the tournament without TV commercials to head off corporate boycotts.
I've poked fun at the club's pretensions, like calling the fans "patrons" and mandating CBS Television's reverent coverage.
But I've loved the tournament since childhood. A bunch of wealthy Republican 1-percenters run the event, deigning to let us plebeians watch it on television. But the tournament celebrates golf, sportsmanship, competition. The Masters is an arcadian fantasy of true sport, which should be free from politics.
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