Opinion: Chairman misses opportunity to put Masters on right side of history

AUGUSTA, Ga. — For all the changes he has brought to Augusta National, for all the good that he has done, chairman Fred Ridley was given a golden opportunity Wednesday to take his game to an entirely new level. He could have condemned Georgia’s controversial new voting law, bringing the considerable force of the club and its high-powered corporate membership to bear against the actions of Gov. Brian Kemp and the state’s Republican-led legislature.

He could have called out the lie the law is based on, saying that there was no widespread voter fraud in Georgia when Donald Trump and two Republican senators lost the state, something that Delta Airlines made a point of saying in its statement denouncing the law.

He could have said the club will focus its efforts on supporting federal legislation to protect voting access and address voter suppression, as Coke did in its statement criticizing the law.    

Instead, Ridley passed.

Is it too much to ask of a golf club, albeit one filled with some of the nation’s most powerful men (and women, at least a few), to step out of its golf shoes and consider helping the nation in this very big way? Many will think that it is, that Ridley was right to offer a few predictable sentences about the “fundamental” right to vote, then escape a pesky question about whether he was for the law or against it by saying he didn’t think his opinion “should shape the discussion,” leaving us to wonder what he truly thinks of the legislation.

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