The Augusta Masters reconciles with its past

Lee Elder, the first black to play the date, back in 1975, was the protagonist at the opening ceremony. Solid lap from Rahm, worthy of Olazábal and problems for Sergio García.


The Augusta Masters was first played in 1934. It was not until 1975 that an invitation was extended to a black player, Lee Elder. And up to 15 years later, in 1990, the Augusta National Golf Club, in the southern state of Georgia (USA), with a distant slave-owning past and a not-so-distant segregationist past that is reminiscent of our days (recently the local parliament approved a controversial electoral law criticized for making it difficult for minorities such as African Americans to vote), did not admit a black partner, Ron Townsend. The first woman, Condoleezza Rice, who was Secretary of State under the presidency of George Bush Jr., had to wait until 2012. Other episodes, such as the very harsh diatribe that the former president of the club, Bill Payne, dedicated to Tiger Woods in The 2010 edition, after its famous scandals, have also become part of the imagination of a tremendously hermetic institution and, until not long ago, little attentive to the social reality of the country.

Things have been changing little by little. In 2019, the Augusta National Women's Amateur, a 54-hole women's tournament for non-professional players, was included in the calendar of activities for the week. And yesterday another historic debt was settled with the inclusion of the aforementioned Lee Elder in the opening ceremony, traditionally starred by two illustrious men of this sport, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

"Thank you, it is one of the most exciting experiences that I have witnessed or in which I have been involved in my entire life," said Elder, who could not hit the opening coup with his two companions because he was assisted by a respirator at his 86 years. "Elder paved the way and inspired new generations and the game of golf," said Fred Riley, club president.

In terms of sports, the tournament has returned to its usual location in April and the field is biting again. This time he will not be won with the -20 that crowned Dustin Johnson last year, when the tournament was postponed to November due to the pandemic. At the end of this news only ten players were under par. None of them were Spanish. Jon Rahm, who became a father on Sunday, had a solid debut, with two birdies and two bogeys to close at par and six strokes off the provisional lead, which belonged to Justin Rose. Sergio García left the pulse less graceful: +4 with five bogeys and this Friday he will have to fight the cut. Olazábal, in his 32nd appearance at 55, signed a worthy +3. There are people who age very well.

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