Fred Ridley takes helm at Augusta National

Washington - Fred Ridley took over as chairperson of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters on Monday, replacing the retiring Bill Payne.

Ridley becomes the seventh person to hold the position in the club's history dating to 1932. Payne, who turned 70 on Friday, announced his retirement in August after 11 years as chairperson.

Payne's retirement was effective at the beginning of the new club season on Monday.

He is succeeded by Ridley, a former US Golf Association president (2004-05) who won the 1975 US Amateur and served as chairperson of Augusta National's competition committee since 2007.

Ridley, 65, cited Augusta National founder Bobby Jones and its original chairperson Clifford Roberts in describing his new job as "beyond humbling".

"Throughout my life, Bobby Jones has been my idol and role model," Ridley said in a statement. "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."

Ridley, an attorney who never played golf professionally, said he would continue Augusta National's efforts to contribute to the development of golf around the world.

During Payne's tenure, Augusta National worked with the Royal & Ancient and other golf bodies to boost the game worldwide, helping create the Asia-Pacific Amateur tournament and the Latin America Amateur.

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