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AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – Golfers arriving for The Masters at Augusta National on Monday were nudged into addressing Georgia’s new voting restrictions debate, but tried to steer clear of the controversy including Major League Baseball’s decision to remove the All-Star Game from Atlanta over the issue.
The Masters is the year’s first golf major and one of the most popular annual sports events. Often described as Spring Break for CEOs, the tournament is a magnet for America’s corporate elite, some of whom belong to Augusta National, which has gone to great lengths in the past to shield its members.
Golfers have also rarely waded into sensitive areas eager to avoid offending their hosts, and again on Monday treaded softly around Georgia’s voting issues.
“This voter stuff and voters for American citizens is very important,” said 2020 PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa. “Overall the topic of voter rights and all that, that should be the topic that we talk about, (but) not if we are here playing golf.”
MLB’s announcement on Friday marked one of the most high-profile reactions after Georgia last month passed more stringent voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, shortened early voting periods for runoffs and made it a crime to offer food and water to voters waiting in line.