The PGA Tour and the PGA of America will not move the Tour's season-ending event in August in response to Georgia's controversial new state voting laws. The decision came after the MLB decided to move the 2021 All-Star Game, which was originally set to be held at the Atlanta Braves' Truist Park in Cobb County, Georgia. Civil rights groups have argued that the new voting law restricts access for people of color.
The PGA Tour hosts its last FedEx Cup playoff event, the Tour Championship, at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta each year. The PGA of America also oversees the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, which will take place at the Atlanta Athletic Club in June. In its statement on Saturday, the PGA Tour noted how its "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," reports ESPN. The organization noted that the "charitable and economic benefits that have led to these substantial changes would not continue if we simply walked away from those in need."
However, the PGA Tour said its decision not to move the event should "not be construed as indifference to the current conversation on voting rights," the statement read. "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 KPMG Women's PGA Championship is a partnership between three organizations committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion: PGA of America, LPGA, and KPMG," the PGA of America said in its own 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."
On Friday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the 2021 All-Star Game will no longer be played in Georgia because of the voting law. Several major companies, including Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, which are both headquartered in the state, have also spoken out against it. "The right to vote is simply sacred," Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. "We should be working to make voting easier, not harder for every eligible citizen."
The Georgia law was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp on March 25. It puts limits on where ballot drop boxes can be put and cut the time people have to request absentee ballots. The law also gives the Republican-controlled state legislature greater control over local elections. One provision in the law also makes it illegal to give money or gifts to voters, and that includes giving food or water to voters in line. Critics have argued this part disproportionately affects Black voters, who often have to stand in line for hours to vote in Georgia. The state's NAACP chapter filed a lawsuit challenging the law.