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Analysis: Fringe Group Calls For “Canceling” The Masters Tournament

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As Augusta prepares for a less than normal Masters Week, which will be scaled down due to the ongoing pandemic, one group doesn’t want the tournament to happen at all. At least, not in Georgia.

The National Black Justice Coalition, a Black LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, is protesting the recent election reform bill that Governor Brian Kemp signed into law last week. The bill requires voters to present identification to obtain absentee ballots, reduces the number of ballot drop-off boxes, prohibits handing out food and water to voters in line and allows state officials to take over local elections boards if fraud is suspected.

MORE: Masters to Host Fewer Patrons This Year

At the signing of the bill, Kemp said he foresaw push-back. Several dozen protesters catcalled the Governor at the signing ceremony, at one point causing the live feed to be cut off.

Later, a protesting Georgia legislator, Democrat Park Cannon of the 58th district, was arrested and escorted from the Capitol for allegedly banging her fists on the governor’s office door.

President Joe Biden was the first national figure to push back against the bill calling it “sick” and branding it a return to the Jim Crow era in Georgia when the Black vote was suppressed by the state.

Now, the NBJC is taking its protest over the election law in a new direction: its target is the game of golf.

In a statement, the NBJC says they are “calling on the PGA Tour and Masters Tournament to pull the upcoming championship event from the Augusta National Golf Course. NBJC is also urging professional golfers to refuse to play in Georgia until SB 202 is repealed.”

Golfweek magazine may have given the group national attention over their boycott, but it is not likely going to provoke a response from the Augusta National Golf Club if history is any guide.

The fiercely private Augusta National has never sought to be a politically engaged organization. They are also known very well for not bowing to criticism. People have found out in the past that one can’t just “cancel” the Augusta National.

In 2003, The chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, Martha Burk, threatened protests during tournament week if Augusta National did not drop its “men only” policy. The national media gave her the spotlight, and she appeared almost daily on the news decrying the “sexism” of the Augusta National.

Suddenly, the national conversation turned to a debate over whether private clubs should be allowed to remain private.

The Augusta National’s response was simply to pull the plug on advertisements airing during the tournament, a move that effectively hobbled the very media companies that had promoted Burk and her narrative.

It was reported at the time that there were more media people in attendance to Burk’s protest than there were actual protestors. The scheme to get Augusta National to give in to what was obviously manufactured public outrage exploded in the organizers’ faces.

Meanwhile, the Masters tournament went on that year as usual with happy patrons munching on pimento cheese sandwiches while watching Mike Weir clinch the coveted Green Jacket. That same year the Augusta National, through its CSRA Community Foundation gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to local charities, as they have done annually now for 25 years. 

The Masters Tournament has survived ice storm damage, a pandemic and to date has only been canceled because of a world war.

The cancel culture mentality may have successfully toppled Sharon Osbourne from her television show “The Talk,” but by comparison, that fight was in the minor leagues. In challenging the Augusta National, the protesters are not going up against the likes of Ozzy Osbourne’s wife; they are going up against a corporate Joan Rivers.

The Augusta National is an institution that isn’t going to be “canceled.”

Scott Hudson is the Editorial Page Editor of The Augusta Press. Reach him at [email protected]

9 COMMENTS

  1. These groups only do these things to get publicity and garner any sort of relevance. Ignore them and they’ll go away. And that’s pretty much what we should be doing with most of this cancel-culture nonsense. The only reason it may work is because we allow it to work. Like supporting a bratty child..it’ll only get worse if you support it.

  2. It is way past time to start calling out these “Fringe groups” as what they are, low-life trouble makers that deserve to be punished for the trouble they are stirring up against such good people as the Augusta National members who work hard to put on the “Masters Tournament” and then give so much back to the local community and others in need. I have worked in the concessions area during the tournament and know how grueling the work can be to make the patrons have an exceptional time in Augusta. Thousands of volunteers and workers help bring great joy to 100s of thoudands of patrons that are able to see the best golfer play at the best golf course in the world, and all of the Metro Augusta area residents benefit. So please remember to laugh at these fringe groups even in their face if you get the chance.

    • Yep, Golf Magazine’s article about this fringe group was distributed through Gannett’s stable of media organizations across the nation, including those here locally. As a reporter, I wanted to ignore the group protesting because they have no credibility, but when the national news is promoting it as some serious thing…which it is not…then I felt we needed to put out the context, which I feel I did. Not sure if you were applauding me or not, but thanks for reading my column!

  3. I believe that these “fringe groups” protesting the Masters Tournament should just return their tournament tickets to The Augusta National with a brief explanation of ehy they choose not to attend.

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