A civil rights group is appealing to the Masters Tournament to pull the major and the Augusta National Women's Amateur (ANWA) from Augusta National over Georgia's new voting bill that restricts the rights of black voters.

The Masters is being asked to take a stand against the move, with civil rights groups declaring that it is designed to 'turn back the clock on civil rights', and return ethnic minority voters and those on low incomes to 'second class citizens'.

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is calling on the PGA Tour and the Masters Tournament to pull both the Masters and the ANWA from Augusta National, Georgia, following the signing of the SB 202 bill last Thursday.

The group is also urging all the players to boycott the tournament until the bill is repealed.

"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,” said NBJC executive director David J. Johns.

“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.

“Professional golf should not reward Georgia’s attacks on democracy and voting rights with the millions of dollars in revenue that the tournament generates and the prestige it brings to the State."

Diversity at the Masters

In recent years, Augusta National has taken steps to make the Masters a more inclusive tournament.

This week the ANWA will see women play competitive golf at Augusta National for only the second time in history. 

Launching in 2019, the prestigious women’s tournament was cancelled last year due to COVID-19.

Plus, ahead of last year's postponed Masters in November, Augusta National also announced that it will establish a series of scholarships for golfers in the name of Lee Elder, the first Black man to play in the Masters Tournament.

However, despite these moves towards equality, neither the Masters or the PGA Tour have commented on the requests made by the NBJC.

What is the SB 202 bill?

Basically, it gives the Republican-dominated state government of Georgia the power to potentially disqualify voters in Democratic-leaning areas.

It criminalises the provision of food and water to voters waiting in line (lines can be very long in some precincts where a lot of enthic minorities live), and it limits the placement of ballot drop boxes.

President Joe Biden has described the bill as “un-American”, “sick” and “an atrocity”.

You can find out more about the 2021 ANWA and Masters here.