Billy Payne Retiring as Augusta National Chairman, to Be Replaced by Fred Ridley

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2017

Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, speaks during a media conference before the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Morry Gash/Associated Press

After 11 years at the helm, Billy Payne is set to retire from his role as Augusta National Golf Club chairman on Oct. 16, and Fred Ridley will replace him.

According to, Payne released the following statement regarding his decision to retire:

"The privilege I experienced serving as chairman of Augusta National and the Masters was far greater than I could have ever imagined. This honor, however, is too great for one person to claim as their own for too long a period of time. 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, bring forth new ideas and craft a new vision that will honor our founders and serve the game of golf for many years to come."

The 69-year-old Payne was perhaps the most progressive chairman in Augusta National's history, as he admitted the first female members in club history in 2012.

Ridley has an impressive resume as he embarks on his new role, including a tenure as president of the USGA.

Per, the former U.S. Amateur champion will also become the first Augusta chairman to have played in the Masters.

Ridley has been chairman of the Masters competition and rules committee since 2006.