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PGA Tour, PGA of America address Georgia voting regulations

Sep 20, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; General view of the East Lake Golf Club logo during the first round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 20, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; General view of the East Lake Golf Club logo during the first round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The PGA Tour and PGA of America on Saturday addressed Georgia’s controversial new voting regulation laws.

The season-ending Tour Championship will be contested in September at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, while the RSM Classic will be held in November at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island. The Masters Tournament will be held next week in Augusta, however that event is run by Augusta National Golf Club as opposed to the PGA Tour.

“At the heart of the PGA Tour’s charitable mission is a commitment to serving and supporting communities where we play, across the country and around the world,” the PGA Tour wrote in a statement. “In Georgia, this commitment has resulted in more than $38 million generated for local charitable organizations since the Tour Championship — our season-ending event — moved to Atlanta in 1998. The Tour Championship’s commitment to East Lake has helped our partners transform distressed neighborhoods into healthy and thriving ones, which is a key to ending the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Read More: MLB strips Atlanta of All-Star Game over Georgia voting law

“The charitable and economic benefits that have led to these substantial changes would not continue if we simply walked away from those in need. We intend to maintain our commitment to the East Lake Foundation, Grove Park Foundation, Purpose Built Schools Atlanta and First Tee of Metro Atlanta by staging the Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club in September. We love these partners, and we will work with them to continue to deliver much-needed support and influence positive change.

“Our intention to stage an event in a particular market should not be construed as indifference to the current national conversation around voting rights. The PGA Tour fully supports efforts to protect the right of all Americans to vote and to eliminate any barriers that may prevent citizens’ voices from being heard and counted. It is the foundation of our great country and a critical national priority to listen to the concerns about voter suppression — especially from communities of color that have been marginalized in the past — and work together to make voting easier for all citizens.”

The PGA of America, which holds the KPMG Women’s PGA at Atlanta Athletic Club in June, said it is “monitoring developments.”

“The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is a partnership between three organizations committed to diversity, equity and inclusion: PGA of America, LPGA and KPMG,” the organization said in a statement. “Like many entities, we are monitoring developments related to the new state legislation on voting access. We believe elections should be accessible, fair and secure, and support broad voter participation.”

Major League Baseball announced Friday that it was removing the 2021 All-Star Game and league draft from Atlanta following Georgia’s voting changes.

The controversial law was signed last month by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

There are changes regarding absentee voting and the use of voting drop boxes, as well as provisions to require additional identification from voters. It will be considered unlawful to distribute food or water to voters waiting in long lines to cast ballots.

Critics of the law claim it makes it harder for Black people and other minorities to vote.

–Field Level Media