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Deadspin writer calls for 'The Masters' golf tournament to change its 'racist' name

'When you hear anyone say the Masters, you think of slave masters in the South'

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

In the wake of George Floyd's death late last month, a wave of social justice rage has resulted in toppled statues, banned Confederate flags, and the renaming of famous American brands such as Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben's — and now the social justice warriors are coming for "The Masters" golf tournament.

The sports blog Deadspin published an op-ed Monday calling for the historic professional golf tournament, which is held at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, to change its name back to its pre-1939 moniker: The Augusta National Invitational.

Sports journalist Rob Parker, who wrote the piece, argued that the name conjures up thoughts of slave masters in the south and not mastery of the game of golf, and added that the golf club has a history of racist and sexist policies.

Here's an excerpt from the op-ed:

Augusta National was built on grounds that were once a slave plantation and was the property of a slave owner. And according to a 2019 New Yorker piece about the course, it's believed that enslaved Blacks were housed on the property.

And be honest. When you hear anyone say the Masters, you think of slave masters in the South. There's nothing else, nothing special. You don't think of someone mastering the game of golf. When has anyone mastered golf?

The only thing worse than the name of the event is the actual venue.

The golf course where it's held annually held long racist and sexist policies. Augusta National admitted no African American members until 1990 and no women members until 2012. The club long required all caddies to be black and banned black golfers from the Masters Tournament until Lee Elder participated in 1975.

Parker even went so far as to link to a dictionary.com definition of the word "master," which states the noun could describe an "owner of a slave."

"The Masters never felt good or even sounded good when you said it," Parker wrote. "It's a dark reminder of America's ugly past."

Preempting any pushback, he argued that to suggest the name change "isn't out of line or going too far," and added that "it's amazing these names and symbols have been allowed all this time."

According to the Golf Channel, in the early 1930s, investment banker and co-founder Clifford Roberts suggested the tournament's name be "The Masters" as a reference to the "masters of golf" who played in it, but legendary golfer and co-founder Bobby Jones "thought the name immodest." Years later, Roberts ultimately got his way and the name was changed in 1939.

The Masters Tournament has not publicly responded to Parker's demands.

The tournament, which is one of four major events on the Professional Golf Association's annual calendar, was rescheduled earlier this year over coronavirus concerns. It is now set to take place Nov. 9-15.

One last thing…
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