Phil Mickelson (right) and Rory McIlroy found themselves answering questions about the controversial Georgia voter suppression law ahead of the Masters start in a week when sport and politics intersect in different ways (Photo by Elsa / Getty Images)

He’s a US Open Winner, two-time PGA Championship winner and British Open winner McIlroy, along with all-time great golfers Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, is one of three players in the history of the sport to win four major tournaments before its 25th anniversary

Born in Northern Ireland, however, McIlroy is not a citizen of the United States, which he says allows him to offer a different perspective when the worlds of sport and politics collide, such as they often do So when McIlroy, along with Phil Mickelson, was asked to comment on the controversial new Georgia voting laws, the 31-year-old who resides in Jupiter, Fla., Was not shy to share his thoughts.

“I totally agree that people come out and vote,” he said at a press conference on the eve of the Masters, which started on Thursday. “I chose to live in this country because I believe this country is the best country in the world And so I – you know America is the land of opportunity, and that’s the American dream. You work hard; you are rewarded So I believe in all that “

Along with a bill passed Thursday in the Texas Senate declaring professional sports teams to play the national anthem before events, Georgia’s new laws are among the latest examples of topics that sit firmly at the crossroads of sport and politics

A law that aims to tighten the conditions for absentee voting, Georgia’s measure, its supporters say, will preserve electoral integrity, while opponents say it is more difficult for some people belonging to communities under-represented to vote

The Texas Senate voted in favor of a bill that would require all professional sports teams with contracts with the state government to play the national anthem before a game begins (Photo by Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

On April 2, Major League Baseball announced its decision to move its All-Star game from Atlanta to Colorado in response to the law, prompting questions as to whether golf would make a similar move to sport. was preparing for the 2021 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia

“I believe, like everyone in our organization, that the right to vote is fundamental in our democratic society,” Augusta National Golf Club President Fred Ridley said on Wednesday. “No one should be at a disadvantage in exercising this right and it is essential that all citizens have confidence in the electoral process It is fundamental to who we are as a people “

McIlroy was not the only top golfer to be asked to comment on the issue Mickelson, a three-time Masters tournament champion and former Arizona State golfer, has said he won’t was not familiar enough with the new laws, although he hoped his home state, California, could “lead by example” and other states “to follow suit”

Golf, more than other sports, is linked to the state of Georgia with some of its biggest events being held in the state The Masters and Augusta National, home of the tournament, are synonymous In addition to the Masters, the PGA Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup, is held annually at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.The PGA of America is also expected to host the PGA Women’s KPMG Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club in June

The PGA Tour and the PGA of America on Saturday released separate statements regarding the state’s new laws, each stating that they will not be relocating their out-of-state events due to financial commitments to various agencies local charities focused on diversity, equity and inclusion The two organizations also noted that their decision to hold their events in Georgia should not indicate that they are apathetic to potentially repressive laws.

“The PGA Tour fully supports efforts to protect the right to vote of all Americans and remove any barriers that could prevent citizens’ voices from being heard and counted,” the PGA Tour said in a statement “It is the foundation of our great country and a key national priority to listen to concerns about voter suppression, especially from communities of color that have been marginalized in the past, and to work together to facilitate the removal of voters. vote for all citizens”

Adding McIlroy to the PGA Tour charity efforts: “Me as a member of the PGA Tour and as a golfer we go to many different communities Obviously the Tour Championship is in Atlanta, but I think that what the PGA Tour has done with the East Lake Foundation and the rejuvenation project that has taken place in this community in Atlanta has been a wonderful thing that the PGA Tour has been involved in”

Had the PGA Tour or PGA of America chosen to move events out of state, the decision would not have been unprecedented MLB’s decision to move this summer’s All-Star Game from Atlanta at Coors Field in Denver drew comments from several political figures, including current President Joe Biden and former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama

“The people who are the victims the most are the people who are the leaders in these different sports,” said Biden “And that’s just not right Here is Jim Crow on steroids, which they are doing in Georgia “

Trump urged his supporters to “boycott baseball and all awakened businesses that interfere with free and fair elections,” while Obama praised MLB for “taking a stand in the name of voting rights”

“Major League Baseball gave in to the fear and lies of liberal activists,” said Kemp “They ignored the facts of our new electoral integrity law and they ignored the consequences of their decision on our local community”

The situation is controversial and every sport organization has handled it differently Golf is trying to have a positive impact, Ridley believes, while keeping some of its biggest events in Georgia

“We realize that views and opinions on this law differ, and there have been calls for boycott and other punitive measures,” he said. “Sadly, these actions often place the heaviest burden on the most vulnerable in our society. And in this case, that includes our friends and neighbors here in Augusta who are at the very center of the positive difference we are trying to make.”

Jacob Rudner plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism in December 2021 Rudner, who is also an intern at Sun Devil Source of 247Sports, is a reporter for Cronkite Sports this spring

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Phil Mickelson

News from the world – United States – The right to vote, the anthem bill invade the world of sport