Masters Match | Persevering with the custom, regardless of every thing

PGA Tour gamers must share the fairways of Augusta Nationwide with these of the LIV Golf circuit on the subsequent Masters Match.


Membership president Fred S. Ridley made the announcement on Tuesday. The choice is much from unanimous, however it’s authorized and per the traditions of the course.

“Since its inception in 1934, the Masters Match’s mission has been to assist the world of golf,” Ridley wrote in a letter launched when sending out official invites to the event.


PHOTO DAVID CANNON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE ARCHIVES

Fred S. Ridley, President of the Augusta Nationwide Membership

On this letter, the membership president emphasizes historical past, custom and unity. With out explicitly naming the Saudi circuit, he admitted discovering the context “regrettable”. “Latest choices which have divided the world of males’s skilled golf have affected the virtues of the game and the numerous legacy of those that constructed it,” he mentioned.

Though he’s “disillusioned with the newest developments” which have shaken up the world of golf prior to now 12 months, the objective of the event and of the membership stays “to work to honor the custom of bringing collectively the perfect golfers on the identical course,” Ridley recalled.

Thus, all gamers who meet the eligibility standards will be capable to hit the tee field for the primary main event of the season in April. Amongst them, six former winners of the inexperienced jacket who’ve joined the ranks of the LIV circuit will be capable to participate.

Within the guidelines

If the Masters Match can resolve to ask gamers from all circuits, it’s as a result of it’s free to do what it needs.

Its organizers owe nothing to the PGA, as a result of the Augusta Nationwide is a non-public membership. He alone is empowered to resolve who can tread its historic paths. Briefly, the membership lends its land to the PGA. It’s a part of the circuit calendar, but it surely doesn’t belong to the circuit.

The Augusta Nationwide solely works for the gamers and for golf, Ridley needed to sum up in his letter.


PHOTO SETH WENIG, ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES

Phil Mickelson, one of many stars who left the PGA Tour for the LIV circuit

This determination taken by the membership within the guidelines of the artwork is each good and unhealthy omen for the LIV circuit. On the one hand, it should permit its gamers to be seen. The circuit struggles to draw and seduce broadcasters and sponsors and persuade them to associate with it. Having the ability to play in probably the most prestigious event on the earth is a golden alternative.

Then again, if the choice standards stay unchanged, it should develop into more and more tough for LIV golfers to qualify for the event. Their outcomes usually are not counted for the world rating and one of many participation standards giving entry to the event is to be a part of the prime 50. LIV gamers will subsequently mechanically slide over time.

Again to the longer term

Though he mentioned he felt some discomfort with the disagreement between the 2 circuits, Ridley by no means condemned the Saudi circuit. He even invitations his athletes to play on his land.

The unease surrounding the LIV circuit continues to be palpable within the golf neighborhood. On the sporting degree, he has utterly reinvented and shaken up the best way of organizing tournaments by deviating from custom. Nevertheless, it’s extra its foundations and its origins which can be disturbing.

The circuit is managed and financed by the Saudi Arabian Public Funding Fund, the monetary arm of the Saudi state. A regime that violates human rights, in keeping with the evaluation of varied worldwide organizations. Ladies’s rights, staff’ rights and migrants’ rights. Freedom of expression, freedom of affiliation and freedom of peaceable meeting. The best to well being, the correct to privateness and the correct to defend oneself in court docket.

In reality, the Masters Match and Augusta Nationwide have by no means been forerunners within the development of civil and social rights and particular person freedoms. Lengthy after its basis, the membership continued to take care of an archaic imaginative and prescient of society, portrayed specifically by a number of newspapers throughout the XXe century.

The membership prohibited entry to the sphere to black gamers till 1975. It obliged gamers to have their baggage carried by cadets, all black, till 1983. And it was solely in 1990 that the Augusta Nationwide gave membership to a primary black participant.

It was 22 years later, in 2012, {that a} first lady in flip turned a member. There was no official ladies’s event at this Georgia floor till 2019.

Thus, giving entry to Magnolia Lane to gamers funded by a regime just like the one in Saudi Arabia is considerably a part of the membership’s lackluster custom on this regard.

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