Ridley begins his reign as Augusta National chairman

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) Augusta National is starting a new golf season with a new chairman.

Fred Ridley becomes the seventh chairman since the Masters began in 1934. He replaces Billy Payne, whose 11 years were marked by Augusta National inviting female members for the first time and creating events geared toward youth in American and amateurs in Asia and Latin America.

The club is closed during the summer. Ridley officially took over when it opened Monday.

Ridley is a 65-year-old attorney from Florida who has been a member since 2000. He is the first chairman to have played in the Masters. He has met every chairman at Augusta National, starting with co-founder Clifford Roberts. Ridley isn"t specific on any changes he"ll make. He says he"ll lean on the club"s principle of constant improvement.

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