Tampa Bay Times

Protesters against Georgia voting law hit Augusta


AUGUSTA, Ga. — About two dozen protesters turned out near Augusta National on Saturday, objecting to Georgia’s new voting law during the third round of the Masters.

The group held signs that said “Let Us Vote” and “Protect Georgia Voting Rights,” drawing jeers and cheers from motorists on busy Washington Road.

One man passing by shouted an insult against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who signed new voter restrictio­ns into law last month. Another yelled at protesters, “C’mon, you can vote! Get out of here!”

Georgia’s law — which opponents say is designed to reduce the impact of minority voters by making it more difficult to cast a ballot — has drawn fire from around the country.

Major League Baseball yanked this summer’s All-Star Game from the Braves to shows its displeasur­e with the law. There were calls to move the Masters out of the state.

On Wednesday, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley declined to publicly take a stand on the law.

Protester Marla Cureton of Roswell, in suburban Atlanta, said the protesters staked out a corner about a half-mile from the front gate of Augusta National to bring attention to their cause.

“We have to keep awareness up,” said Cureton, who is part of a women’s activist group known as No Safe Seats. “It’s important in Georgia that people understand it’s not going away.”

Weather delay

The third round was delayed for more than an hour by thundersto­rms. Play was stopped at 3:58 p.m. and resumed around 5:15 The total delay was 77 minutes, the PGA Tour said.

Finau gets some winning vibes

Tony Finau received a special message during the delay.

Finau, who was 3 under when the delay was called, got a surprise motivation­al FaceTime call from Bucs quarterbac­k Tom Brady.

Finau was waiting out the rain in the caddie house when Augusta National member Jimmy Dunne handed Finau his cellphone with Brady’s call.

“That was a pleasant surprise,” Finau said. “(Brady) said, ‘Great playing’ and he was following. He was surprised we stopped. He said in the NFL when it rains, you don’t stop. I let him know,

‘Yeah, maybe we’re not as tough as you guys,’ but he said, ‘No, that’s not the case.’ We had a good laugh about that.”

Finau said he met Brady in 2017 when Brady was with the Patriots. Finau, from Salt Lake City, said he grew up a Cowboys fan but now mostly cheers for individual NFL players.

Finau didn’t say whether Brady gave him a pep talk.

He shot 1-over 73 and was eight shots behind leader Hideki Matsuyama.

No language barrier here

Xander Schauffele is from San Diego. Matsuyama is from Japan and needs a translator to help with his interview sessions with English-speaking media.

That doesn’t mean the two can’t talk on the course.

They were paired in the third round, and Schauffele, whose grandparen­ts lived in Japan, knows a little bit of the language. “I threw my few words in here and there,” he said. “Just some proper words. Some bad ones, too.”

Said Matsuyama: “It was really enjoyable playing with Xander today. We didn’t get a chance to talk a lot, but when we did, we exchanged some good Japanese jokes and had a good laugh.”

Schauffele (68) was in a group in second, four back.

Not all wet, but …

Billy Horschel had all sorts of fun at the par-5 13th. The former Florida Gator standout sent his tee shot into the pine straw off the right of the fairway, then played his second shot into a tributary of Rae’s Creek in front of the green.

This left him with two challenges: getting the ball out of the water — and getting to the water.

Horschel removed his shoes and socks, rolled up the legs of his white pants to the calves, then proceeded to walk barefoot down the slope toward the water.

He slipped on the grass and fell onto his backside, drawing a good laugh from the patrons, and even more when he turned his rear end toward playing partner Phil Mickelson to ask if there was a grass stain. Mickelson’s response, as Horschel recalled: “Yeah, there’s one there. Sorry, buddy.”

Horschel played his third out of the water to well above the hole, put his shoes and socks back on, and twoputted for a par that was anything but routine.

Horschel shot 73 and was 4 over.

 ?? MATT SLOCUM | Associated Press ?? RAINY DAY: Spectators leave the course after play is suspended for inclement weather in the third round.
MATT SLOCUM | Associated Press RAINY DAY: Spectators leave the course after play is suspended for inclement weather in the third round.

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