By Andrew Both
AUGUSTA, Ga (Reuters) – Cameron Champ, the only black American player at the Masters, said he was disappointed with the new voting restrictions in Georgia, where the Augusta tournament is held.
Legislation, passed last month, tightens voter identification requirements for mail ballots and shortens early voting periods for the second round, making it a crime to offer food and water for voters in line.
Critics say the law passed by Georgia’s Republican-led state legislature seeks to suppress the vote of blacks and other racial minorities who tend to vote Democratic.
“As you can see, it really targets some black communities and makes it more difficult to vote, which for me is everyone’s right to vote,” Champ said, two days before the first round in Augusta. National.
“For me to see that is very shocking. Obviously with MLB (Major League Baseball) and what they did and moving the All-Star game was a big statement. there are a bunch of other organizations and companies that have made this happen. “
MLB commissioner Robert Manfred last week ordered the sport to move its 2021 All-Star Game after Georgia instituted the new voting rules.
As Champ spoke to a handful of reporters outside the clubhouse, back in the press building, three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson said he did not know the details of the new restrictions on vote.
“I believe in the rights and equal treatment of all people, and I hope that as Californians we lead by example and others will follow,” he added.
Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy also chose his words carefully.
“I have to be respectful and quite careful in what I say because I am not a citizen of this country, but I certainly think that all great countries and democracies are built on equal voting rights and that everyone can be get to the polls just as easily. as possible, ”he said.
“I chose to live in this country because I believe this country is the best country in the world. America is the land of opportunity, and that is the American dream. You work hard, you are rewarded. I believe in all of this thing. “
World No. 86 Champ said he felt compelled to keep the issue of racing in the spotlight and wanted to take his game to the next level to elevate the platform from which he could speak.
“There aren’t a lot of people (on tour) who are ready to talk about it,” he said.
“It gives me a little chip on my shoulder just to get to where I know I can go because then once I’m there I know I can do a lot more things.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Toby Davis)