Earlier this week, Augusta National finally admitted two female members, ending an almost-80-year ban on anyone with lady parts.
With the acceptance of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and billionaire financier Darla Moore, Augusta finally jumped over the last remaining hurdle of membership, stating once and for all that if you are one of the most powerful women in the world or really, really, super filthy rich, you, too, can play golf in a pretty place that is, unfortunately, located in Georgia and not, say, Hawaii. Yay!
Of course, the door is still closed if you’re rich and liberal. It could be that Oprah or Martha Stewart don’t play enough golf, but it’s probably that they are too loud and too outspoken and too likely to, you know, keep causing trouble.
Augusta picked its two Jacqueline Robinsons carefully – the fact that one of the women is black is certainly not a coincidence; I can imagine a cigar smoke-filled room stuffed with snooty fat cats saying, “Just make sure one of the gals is black so we can shut up ‘those people,’ too!”
It’s not cynical to state the obvious: The choices were a political calculation.
There are, no doubt, many worthy, wealthy ladies with much less of a public profile than Rice or Moore – and probably lower handicaps and higher connections to the feminist movement – but Augusta has shown a penchant for both leaning Right and shooting for big splashes in the press. And, hey, if you are going to make history, why not go high profile?
This is not an “Augusta does not like liberals” column, because, frankly, who cares? If you are a club that caters to the 1 percent, chances are you aren’t holding too many Barack Obama fundraisers. Understood. And this is certainly not a, “Wow, Augusta deserves a lot of credit” column, because it doesn’t. When you wait 80 years to do the right thing, you don’t get a parade.
In fact, I was hoping Augusta NEVER admitted women. We need bad examples in society just as much as we need good ones. I liked that it stood as a reminder that just because you were flush with cash, it didn’t mean you couldn’t be pig-headed and backwards. Fortunately, we still have lots of rich and powerful dopes left – see Trump, Donald – but the Masters was a yearly reminder that life is STILL not fair. It was like Thanksgiving for feminists.
And now Augusta played the one card it had to make it all go away – it capitulated to the “whiny” people who called for, you know, “justice” and “equality” and the right to hang out in a clubhouse with chubby white dudes complaining about Obamacare and lighting cigars with $100 bills. They went and let in two women – women who, let’s face it, are as close as you could get to the typical Augusta member (minus the penis) you could find – thus shielding themselves from future criticism.
Well, good for it. But I, for one, hope it backfires.
Here’s hoping people still criticize Augusta for everything it does wrong, instead of the few things it does right. And here’s hoping people don’t give CBS a break for being in business with those sexists snobs for so long. And here’s hoping the PGA Tour doesn’t get a pass for not putting more pressure on the club to act sooner, or insisting, at the very least, Augusta hold the occasional LPGA event on the “hallowed grounds of blah blah bullshit bullshit.”
Sorry I am not in a better mood that we’re falling over ourselves that — in these days of recession and economic disparity – a shady golf club made a calculated, political decision that will, no doubt, reap it lots of free publicity and loads of sponsorship cash. When I watch Caddyshack, I root for the lowly caddies, not the jerks that run Bushwood Country Club.
There is still so much more Augusta can do to make up for the fact that its latest move is 80 years too late. How about we not let it off the hook?