Georgian law, which opponents say aims to reduce the impact of minority voters by making it difficult to vote, has caught fire across the country.
Major League Baseball ripped this summer’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta to show its displeasure with the new law. Calls have been made to take over the Masters from Augusta National, but the club ignored the outcry and its chairman declined to take a stand on the eve of the first major golf championship in 2021.
Georgia played a pivotal role in last year’s election and narrowly took Joe Biden in the presidential race. He was the first Democrat to promote the state since 1992. In addition, the state’s two incumbent Republican senators were defeated in a runoff election by Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, giving the Democrats control of the US Senate.
Nearly 5 million Georgians cast ballots, many of them absent or early-polled.
“The last election had a record turnout,” said one of the protesters, Marla Cureton of suburban Roswell, Atlanta who is part of a women’s activist group known as No Safe Seats. “We should celebrate this. It’s a great thing. “
Instead, GOP-controlled state legislation passed legislation that proponents say will improve election security after former President Donald Trump unfounded claims he had lost Georgia to widespread fraud.
Among other things, Georgian law prescribes additional identification requirements for postal votes, gives the GOP-led state election committee new powers to intervene in local election offices, and restricts the distribution of water and food to voters who stand in long lines.
“That bill is death by a thousand cuts,” said Cureton. “Every time you put new restrictions on your voting, it is voter suppression. We should make it easier to choose. It’s the patriotic thing. “
She said the protesters staked a corner about half a mile from the entrance gate of Augusta National to publicize their cause.
“We need to maintain awareness,” said Cureton. “In Georgia, it’s important for people to understand that it won’t go away.”
One to remember
Corey Conners made a move at the Masters in one fell swoop.
The Canadian made a hole-in-one on Saturday’s sixth par-3 hole, placing it at 3 for the day, at 5 for the tournament, and within two strokes of front runner Justin Rose. Conner’s ace came just moments before Rose broke off to begin his third round.
Conners’ tee shot at the 180-yard hole ricocheted off once, then rolled with a slap into the pin and dropped into the cup. It was the second hole-in-one at this year’s Masters. Tommy Fleetwood had one on the 16th hole in the opening round on Thursday.
Conners had the 33rd hole-in-one in Masters history and sixth in sixth place. The last player to score that hole during the Masters was Jamie Donaldson in 2013.
Age is just a number for Mickelson
Phil Mickelson broke 70 again at Augusta National.
The three-time Masters champion shot a 3-under-69 win on Saturday and brought him back for the tournament.
It was his second day in a row that he shaved three shots off the preliminary round score: he opened with a 75, cut the 3 over number by shooting 72 on Friday, and then had a day on Saturday four birdies and one bogey.
It was Mickelson’s 33rd round at Augusta National in the 1960s, six minutes before Jack Nicklaus hit the Masters record.
Horschel flies past the seat of his pants
Billy Horschel went into the water and then on his bum.
Horschel had a lot of fun on Saturday at the par 5 hole 13 in Augusta National. He sent his tee shot into the pine straw to the right of the fairway, then played his second shot into a tributary of Rae’s Creek off the green.
This presented him with two challenges: getting the ball out of the water – and getting to the water.
Horschel took off his shoes and socks, rolled the legs of his white trousers up to his calves, and then went barefoot down the slope to the water.
He slid into the grass and fell on his bum, which made the guests laugh – especially when he turned his back on Mickelson, his play partner, to assess the damage.
Horschel played his third stroke out of the water far over the hole, put his shoes and socks back on and putted twice for a par that was anything but routine.
With a bit of grass stain to prove it.
Horschel screwed the next two holes and finished the 4th day.
Koepka is calling the time
Brooks Koepka takes a long break. A month and a half might be about right.
Koepka, who missed the cut after trying to play less than a month after knee surgery, said Friday that he may not try again until the PGA championship on Kiawah Island, which begins May 20, to go to the start.
“I won’t miss it, I know that,” said Koepka. “But hard to say if I’ll play something beforehand, just how it feels, how the rehab is going and everything.”
Koepka said that if this week hadn’t been the champion, there was no way he would have tried to play again this quickly after the surgery.
He’s a four-time big winner, including the PGA in 2018 and 2019.
“I’ll have a nice long break after that,” said Koepka. “The way I see it, I have two days left for rehab that I probably wouldn’t get if I was out here, and I’m going to prepare for the PGA.”
A player who won’t take a break after missing the Masters cut: world number 1 Dustin Johnson. He’ll be right back at Hilton Head next week.
“I play,” said Johnson.
Cheers to Olazábal
When José María Olazábal entered the interview area on Friday, the Spanish media members cheered.
“It’s like winning the event,” said the 55-year-old Spaniard with a broad smile.
In a way, the second round of the Masters felt like a win for the two-time Masters champion.
Olazábal shot a 1: 71 to set his best Augusta National round in 15 years and to make the cut for the first time since 2014.
The smooth greens were perfect preparation for Olazábal, who knows he can’t compare the youngsters with the length of his shots. He made up for this lack with his knowledge of the course and his touch of the greens.
“It’s nice to see Augusta play like the last two days – fast and tight,” said Olazábal. “It reminds me a lot of the late 80s and 90s.”
Those were the glory days for Olazábal, who won his first green jacket in 1994, added another title in 1999 and was in the top 10 finishers five more times.
But he hasn’t fought since a third place tie in 2006. In his last twelve games, Olazábal missed the average nine times and didn’t go higher than 34 in the other years.
By the 14th hole on Saturday he worked his way up to 1, but then returned four strokes over the next three holes and ended the third day at the bottom of the ranking.
No place for amateurs
No amateurs played at the Masters at the weekend.
Ollie Osborne was the low amateur, his score of 8 over 152 beating Joe Long (154) and Tyler Strafaci (161).
“One of the most important things I’ve learned is that not everyone is perfect,” said Osborne on Friday. “I’ve played with the best in the world and you don’t have to do everything perfectly. You just do your game and do your thing. These guys are obviously really good, but I’m not that far away.
It’s the first time since 2015 that no amateur has made the cut. But there were many memories – such as staying in the Crow’s Nest at the Augusta National Clubhouse and playing 36 holes in what is arguably the most famous tournament in the world.
“Some advice from the world’s best golfers, that kind of stays with me,” Long said. “The amateur dinner like this is just something special. The crow’s nest, all of these things, they are memories for life. At the end of the day, you can tell your family about it, and that’s pretty amazing. “
The momentum is swinging in the other direction
Abraham Ancer was tied by two rounds to a straight par 144 for the 21st.
He had only taken 142 swings.
Ancer was hit with a two-stroke penalty long after his opening round was closed after his club was found to have touched the sand before his bunker shot at the par 5 15th hole. Ancer signed for a bogey 6 before it was changed to a triple bogey 8 after the rules officials ruled that he accidentally signed for the wrong result.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Ancer. “I’ve already been to the house I rented here. We were just about to have dinner. We had a barbecue and I got a call from Augusta National saying they wanted to show me a video on my bunker that was filmed on the 15th. Obviously, I had no idea what it was about.
“Then they told me they would give me a two-stroke penalty for touching the sand,” he said. “Obviously I was quite amazed because I had no idea that had happened. They needed a really good camera with a good zoom to see that I was touching the sand. “
He shot a 3 under 69 on Friday.
“It was pretty minimal, but I can’t complain,” said Ancer. “I owned the club, so I’m the only one responsible for it. You have to go ahead and do a few birdies. “
Ancer didn’t do enough this Saturday and ended the day at 3am.
Sweet 16 party is over
Patrick Reed did terribly by his standards on the par 3 hole on the 16th hole on Friday.
He made par.
Reed had made six consecutive birdies on the 16th before Friday, a run that began in the final round of the 2019 Masters.
He started a new series on Saturday as part of his 2-under round.