'An atrocity': Pressure to relocate Masters over 'attack on democracy'

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Dustin Johnson is awarded the Green Jacket by Masters champion Tiger Woods after winning the 2020 Masters. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Dustin Johnson is awarded the Green Jacket by Masters champion Tiger Woods after winning the 2020 Masters. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The PGA and the Masters have been pressured to relocate the iconic tournament away from the famous Augusta course, over a bill passed the home state of Georgia criticised for disenfranchising voters. 

Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed into law last week a bill which introduced various new voting restrictions, which was described by United States President Joe Biden as 'un-American' and 'an atrocity'.

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Changes included limiting the number of ballot drop boxes, restricting provisional ballots, and, controversially, making it a crime to give food or water to anyone waiting in line to vote.

The National Black Justice Coalition, or the NBJC, called on those in the golf world to take action after the bill was passed.

“Georgia’s new law restricting voting access is designed to turn back the clock on civil rights, and return Black and poor and already disenfranchised voters in Georgia to second class citizens,” NBJC executive director David Johns said in a statement to Golfweek

“This is an unacceptable attack on our democracy and companies that operate in Georgia must speak out against this restrictive law.

“The PGA Tour and Masters Tournament have both made commitments to help diversify golf and address racial inequities in this country — and we expect them to not only speak out against Georgia’s new racist voter suppression law — but to also take action.”

Could The Masters actually be moved?

Though it certainly could be possible, there isn’t much time left to actually move the first major championship of the year.

The Masters is set to kick off on April 8, which is less than two weeks away. After both the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play and Corales Puntacana Championship conclude on Sunday, only the Valero Texas Open is left on the calendar before golf’s biggest stars head down to Georgia.

If the tournament were to be moved, it wouldn’t be because the PGA Tour wanted it done.

The PGA Tour doesn’t own or operate any of golf’s four major championships. The Masters is run independently, and has always been held at Augusta National. Since the inaugural event in 1934, the tournament hasn’t been played at any other course — making it the only major championship to stick to a single course.

Given the time constraints and the deep history to the event, a change in plans this late almost certainly won’t get done.

Dustin Johnson reacts on the 18th green after winning the 2020 Masters at Augusta. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Dustin Johnson reacts on the 18th green after winning the 2020 Masters at Augusta. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

However, other major sporting codes have already raised concerns about the bill, most prominently Major League Baseball.

MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark said Friday that players are ready to start talking about moving this year’s All-Star game out of Atlanta in response to the bill.

This has happened in the past, when the NBA moved the 2017 All-Star game out of North Carolina after the so-called “bathroom bill” that limited anti-discrimination protections for the LGBQ community. The NCAA followed suit and banned all championships from the state. That bill was eventually partially repealed.

MLB players are “very much aware” of the new bill, though Clark said they haven’t had an official conversation with the league about taking action yet. If it doesn’t end up getting moved, there is already talk of skipping the game in protest.

With Yahoo Sport US/Ryan Young

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