Former Florida Gator golfer Fred Ridley will become the Augusta National Chairman when current chairman Billy Payne steps down.
Passing the Torch
Billy Payne is retiring after 11 years of holding the Augusta National Chairman position. Payne was a successful and well-liked Chairman, but will step down in order to give someone else an opportunity to build on his legacy and continue the growth of Augusta National. For Payne, it’s his time to move on. After announcing his retirement, he said, “I retire knowing it is simply the right thing to do — and at the right moment — to open the door and invite someone new to be called upon to lead.”
Payne is confident that Fred Ridley is that right person to follow his legacy. When talking about Ridley, his successor, Payne expressed extreme confidence that Ridley is the right man for the job. He referred to him as “immensely qualified” and a “wonderful human being.”
Billy Payne’s career as chairman might be hard to follow, but Fred Ridley is up for the job.
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) August 23, 2017
Prior to being named the new chairman, Ridley held several important positions in golf over the years. He was the first named member the United States Golf Association’s committee in 1994. Ridley then served as the USGA’s president from 2004-2005. He has also been the chairman of the Masters competition committee since 2007.
In the 2013 Masters, Ridley made headlines when he made a controversial ruling regarding a Tiger Woods hit that landed in a pond after hitting a flagpole. Ridley ruled to not disqualify Woods from the tournament. Ridley, who graduated from the University of Florida in 1974, and Stetson College in 1977, works as a business lawyer and is a partner at an international law firm. Fred Ridley is bringing experience from the golf world as well as the business world to the job.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) August 23, 2017
Ridley’s Playing Career and What’s Next
Ridley was a three-time letterman for the Florida golf team in the early 1970s. He served as an alternate for the 1973 team that won the national championship, and he also won the 1975 U.S Amateur Cup. In the 1976, 1977, and 1978, he competed in both the Masters and in the 1976 U.S Open. Ridley also played on a winning U.S team in the 1977 Walker Cup and served as the Walker Cup team captain in both 1987 and 1989.
Fred Ridley officially becomes Augusta National Chairman on October 16th.