Ridley new chairman of Augusta National

Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club for the past 11 years,  announced on Aug. 23 that he will retire from that position in October. He will be succeeded by Fred Ridley, currently the chairman of the competition committee, and a law partner at Foley & Lardner. 

Ridley, 65, will become the seventh chairman of the club and tournament since its founding in 1933. He was the U.S. Amateur champion in 1975, and is the last amateur champion to never have played as a professional. He is the first chairman to have played in the Masters, which he did from 1976 to 1978. He received his law degree from Stetson University College of Law in 1977, and is a member of his firm's Hospitality & Leisure practice, which handles golf course real estate development and finance, and golf and recreational amenity and resort development. He was president of the U.S. Golf Association from 2004 to 2005. 

Payne, 69, will hold the title of chairman emeritus upon his retirement. He has presided over Augusta National and the Masters tournament during one of its most successful periods. Under his leadership, the club added its first women members and made significant revisions to the golf course through property acquisitions and redesigns. He also has expanded the facilities and services for members and patrons at the Masters and embraced new digital media offerings for the tournament.

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