For the last 11 years, Billy Payne has served as the chairman of Augusta National golf course. The home of The Masters tournament each April. You would likely remember Payne from the opening tee shot ceremonies in recent years that have featured Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Arnold Palmer.
Payne stepped down from his role as chairman in August of this year and named Fred Ridley as his successor. As of Monday, Ridley has assumed his new role taking Payne’s place.
The 65-year-old Augusta National member will become just the seventh person to assume this role since The Masters first began back in 1934.
Ridley officially made this statement regarding his new role with the club:
“Throughout my life, Bobby Jones has been my idol and role model,” Ridley said “I remember meeting Clifford Roberts during my first visit to Augusta National as an amateur invitee more than four decades ago. So to become Chairman of Augusta National and the Masters is beyond humbling. I stand ready to embrace the responsibilities that come with this important position, strengthened by the lessons the sport teaches and the example of those who have provided leadership to me over the years.
“As Chairman, I will always look to Jones and Roberts as a source of wisdom and inspiration. I fully subscribe to their mandate of constant improvement and their commitment to maintaining the highest standard in all that we do. I pledge to use my deep-rooted respect for the customs and traditions they established to further elevate our Club and Tournament while continuing their mission of contributing to the development of the sport around the world.”
Ridley has been a member of Augusta National since 2000 and will be the first chairman to have actually played in the Masters. He played in the tournament between 1976-78. He won the U.S. Amateur in 1975 which gave him an exemption for both ’76 and ’77. He received another exemption in ’78 because he played on the 1977 U.S. Walker Cup team.
Ridley never turned pro after his amateur career and decided to become a real estate attorney instead. That being said, he is still respected by players for his talent and will make for a great successor to Payne.
The culmination of a lifetime's passion. Get to know Augusta National’s seventh Chairman, Fred Ridley. pic.twitter.com/764RwUKWnu
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) October 16, 2017