Augusta Doors Finally Open to Women
Well, they’ve finally done it. They’ve opened the membership gates at Augusta National to women. Is nothing sacred anymore?
OK, before you fire off those email missiles, I was just kidding there. I’ve never been able to understand why women were excluded in the first place.
Seriously, why would anyone want to keep women from being members of any club? In my humble opinion, women tend to make any organization better. They bring dignity to a club setting, add stimulating conversation, and keep the old boys in the room in line.
Yeah, I know, some men look at their clubs as a sanctuary, a place they can escape from the pressures of business life and not have to worry about uttering an off-color word at times.
Baloney! These are not medieval times. If we build it, women should be able to enter it. Heck, in these times, chances are a woman was the architect, anyway.
I have to admit that I was no huge fan of the way Martha Burk went about it when she tried to force the club into admitting women 10 years ago. But even then I couldn’t help but wonder why excluding women should even be an issue.
The same was true with blacks. Why were they not eligible if they otherwise qualified? Didn’t understand it then. Still don’t.
I’m all for private clubs. If people want to belong to a club or an organization, fine. Got no problem. I’m a member of a private country club myself.
But at my club, if you qualify for membership and you’re willing to pay the dues, you’re in. And why not?
I’ll give Augusta National members credit for one thing. When they decided to allow women members, they selected a pair of winners to break the barrier. Who wouldn’t want to have Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as fellow members?
For status and accomplishments, those two, a former secretary of state and a South Carolina financier, do nothing but upgrade the membership.
I’m sure there are some good ol’ boys at Augusta National who are doing a little pouting now. Fine. Pout away. The club will only be better for the decision.
During my career as sports editor for a daily newspaper I was fortunate enough to cover 22 Masters Tournaments. The first one was in 1971, when Charles Coody won. The last one came in 1997, when a young phenom named Tiger Woods sent the golf world into shock with a record score that toppled the marks set by Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd.
During those years that I was covering the Masters, there was often talk of allowing the first black member, but little being said about women. When the first black was finally admitted — Gannett executive Ron Townsend — in 1990, that issue pretty much disappeared.
And that’s when the discussions about women members really began heating up. The only surprising thing about Rice and Moore being accepted is why there even had to be a discussion.
If they wanted to be members and they were qualified, what was keeping them out?
Or, in this case, who was keeping them out?
The answer, of course, is a membership with a feeling that it didn’t want intrusion.
Intrusion? Of what? Did the members think that women were going to take away their feeling of camaraderie? Some cigar-smoking poker players were going to have to share a table with a lady?
That’s not the way I see it at all. I think you had some 300 members who felt privileged and really didn’t care a lot about who was excluded.
I’m in. You’re not. Go away.
But life doesn’t work that way anymore. Very few things are exclusionary. If you qualify for a membership to a club or an organization, your race or gender is not going keep you out.
That’s the way it ought to be. I’m old enough to remember seeing water fountains with signs reading “White Only.” I was just a kid, but I wondered what blacks were supposed to do when they were thirsty.
I’ve always felt that a person should be judged on the way they conducted themselves, not on whether they were black, white, red or brown. Or female.
More like this story