Augusta National dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century

“I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member”

–          Groucho Marx

I like girls.

I like hanging out in places that have girls.

Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy a night out with the boys as much as the next guy, but can you imagine hanging out with nothing but dudes all the time?  That doesn’t sound like much fun to me.  It’s why people leave bars at 1:30 in the morning, because the proper ratio of women to men has dwindled down to zero.

Now I’m sure after spending a glorious spring, afternoon strolling Augusta National with Hootie Johnson, the course’s former chairman, not chairperson, he’d be able to break down the golf course’s rich tradition, show you the Eisenhower Tree, and even somewhat convince you they were justified for never, not once in the club’s eighty year history, enrolling a member of the opposite sex.  Perhaps they’ve been allergic to females all this time.  Or maybe they genuinely couldn’t find one ‘worthy’ of their little club.

Well, the times they are a-changin’.  Black people can now sit at restaurant counters, gay couples can marry and women can become members at Augusta National.  Stand up, America, and take a bow.  It only took 400 hundred years for us to understand the true meaning of that whole ‘all men are created equal’ credo.  The snail’s pace at which this country crawls to respect one’s human rights amazes me, but better late than never, I guess.

So why dredge all this up?  Well, in case you hadn’t heard, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier (that means she’s rich) Darla Moore were just allowed membership to our country’s most elite golf club, becoming the first females to ever do so.  There goes the neighborhood.

Personally, I can’t wait for the healthy ribbing; the cooking and cleaning jokes should be a real hoot.  Remember when Tiger Woods became the first African-American golfer to win at Augusta in 1997?  That victory was followed up by Fuzzy Zoeller suggesting Woods would choose fried chicken and watermelon at the tournament’s Champions dinner the following year.  Classy.  Fuzzy received some flack for that, but far too many wrote it off as Fuzzy being Fuzzy, turning their heads while he shouted from his secluded, Augusta balcony, white hoods tucked neatly away in their closets.  I mean, seriously, with all the things that have been covered up in sports lately, steroids, child abuse, game-fixing, would it surprise anyone at this point if card-carrying members at Augusta happened to be card-carrying members of another considerably less savory organization?  Besides, like Dave Chappelle once said, if you don’t like fried chicken and watermelon, there’s something wrong with YOU.

I’ve been to Augusta twice.  I’ve never felt all that uncomfortable walking its grounds, probably because I’m white.  It really is a beautiful place but the sensible part of me always wanted to resent it for some reason, for only allowing members they felt fit the bill, and yes, that had far more to do with race and gender than anything else.  Augusta didn’t allow their first black member until 1990.  In 2002, Martha Burk made a pretty big stink, protesting the tourney for their lack of female membership.  The overwhelming maleness of this club became an issue once again this year when the CEO of IBM, Virginia Rommety, attended the actual tournament.  Not only is IBM one of Augusta’s biggest sponsors, its last four CEOs, all males obviously, were extended invitations to join.  Not yet for Rommety.

Look, it’s okay to have a club.  It’s even okay to discriminate in certain instances.  We had a Dungeons and Dragons club back in the eighth grade.  We wouldn’t allow anyone in who didn’t know how to play the game.  But we didn’t do so based on the color of their skin or the fact that they had breasts.  Even in the eighth grade, we knew better.

Perhaps it’s time for the rest of us to grow up as well.

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33 Replies to “Augusta National dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century”

  1. Your writing skills are showcased with this piece… Will be on my top 5 SC posts for sure ! Now excuse me while I go pack my clubs , chicken , watermelon , rice and beans and head off to Augusta 🙂

  2. Except for the Masters Tournament (and honestly, that could be held at any golf course in the world), Augusta National is totally irrelevant in the world of sports. I wouldn’t want to belong to an organization that had a member named Hootie.

  3. Pingback: Augusta National dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century - BallHyped, Golf | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  4. Ms. Flowers…

    Thank you for the kind words.

    To quote Liam Neeson from Taken, “what I do have are a very particular set of skills.”

    I’m glad you enjoyed. Now hand over some of them chicken and beans.

  5. I wonder if they put ankle bracelets on them when they enter the grounds so they’re sure they don’t mess up anything out there!

  6. So Darla Moore and Condoleeza Rice are supposed to impress upon us that Augusta has changed ? Hell , when Nicklaus and Palmer were at the height of their fame and then during the civil rights’ era , when and where they to be heard ? Answer ….nowhere ! This is simply a token gesture and not much else . I doubt if anyone knows who Lee Elder, just happens to be !

    Tophatal ……..

  7. These ###ha-###kers were dragged kicking and screaming into this millennium and now they are looking to be praised . It’s bull#hit ! As plain and as simple as that , nothing more , nothing less .

    Let me know when Augusta has a Native American , Arab American or for that matter a Hispanic as a member . And then that’ll be a real topic of debate ! LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

    Tophatal …………

  8. Oh, Al, I don’t think anyone is praising them. Far from it.

    But I would like to know how Condoleezza is on the links. If she could beat me, I’d be pissed.

  9. Now if only the Hells Angels would bow down to social pressure and allow women, and blacks, to carry their patch all would be just in the world. I’m boycotting meth and strip clubs until they change their backward ways!

  10. I’m going take a wild stab here and guess that the only breasts that came remotely close to your D&D club back in the day were the ones on your fat little dungeon master.

  11. They had to put an end to the nags hanging around at the front gate… Or was it the member’s wives crucifying them during the month of April each and every year. Maybe a little of both. Naw… You’re right, it’s about time.

  12. Chris

    Condi , the linguist ( speaks 4 languages) , Condi the educator (teaches at Stanford) , Condi , former Sec’y of State , fact . And now Condi , the golfer and member of Augusta National . Which of these has more credibility to it ? What the f#ck ! This is some real bull#hit !

    A month ago it looked as if the Rays were out of the running for the AL East title . Now quite possibly by Sunday at the latest they (Rays) could’ve passed the Yankees for the divisional lead . How crazy is that ? It was disappointing to know that there were barely over 10,500 in attendance at the Trop to see the team win again , when they beat the A’s 5-0 .

    Oh , by the way , Urban Meyer says he loves his wife and he likes to ###k her as well . LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

    So the USADA say they’ll strip Lance Armstrong of his 7 Tour de France titles . The now retired cyclist for so long protested and reiterated his innocence , saying that he would fight his being vilified . Now he says he no longer wishes to do so , saying that he’s proved his point . Tell me the last time you heard of someone vehemently protesting their innocence and then just giving up , merely because his antagonist filed the legal suit to start the action ? Armstrong is so full of himself and he used his fame to dupe so many people for multiple social causes . How messed up is that ?

    If Colon’s HDL was so high why take testosterone ? LOL ! Ryan Braun will now proffer up advice to both Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon . Braun’s stats this season are now better than those of 2011 at the same point in time . He (Braun) should not have been awarded the NL MVP at the time when the MLB hierarchy were already aware of the findings concerning his test samples . And we’re to believe baseball has their ##it in order ? Who the ##ck is Selig trying to persuade here ? Not me that’s for sure !

    All these pious ###s talking as if baseball still has some redeeming principle to it . When have you ever heard players such as Pujols , Jeter , Torii Hunter , Teixiera , Cliff Lee or any other high profiled Major League star speak out vehemently in opposition as to the prolific use of steroids within the game ? When you can some up with at least a dozen then we can perhaps start a real debate on the issue , rather than this bull##it !

    The sport is a joke and will remain so until an ##s-wipe such as Selig remains in office . Because in reality he has simply not done enough to clean up the sport .

    I preface that by saying this . When baseball was kicked out of the Olympics . What was the reason given by the IOC ? MLB came up with the BS stating it was because of the lack of popularity and lack of competition. Yet somehow the game’s international governing body IFAB opposed Selig’s stance when he refused acquiesce to the IOC’s demands for a more stringent testing policy within baseball . So anyone talking about the game’s hierarchy being truly proactive in wanting to clean up the sport ought think about that . Hence the real reason for both baseball and softball being kicked out of the Summer Games .

    Tophatal ……….

  13. Dwin…

    Remind me to properly congratulate the beverage cart girl on her gender’s success next time we hit the links. Maybe we’ll get a free cocktail out of the deal. More than likely, however, she’ll just consider us creepy old men.

  14. Al…

    The Rays staff, both starters and pen, have been unstoppable lately. I actually flirted with going to tonight’s game but my liver needed the night off. Fantastic outing by Cobb.

    Judging by your Armstrong comments, I’m assuming you think he’s guilty as charged. Then again, who’s not these days?

    And I dig your IOC/baseball/PEDs theory… assuming it’s actually a theory.

  15. Chris

    The Rays now sit 2 1/2 games back of the Yankees and they’re gunning (7-5 season series’ lead Rays) for them that’s for sure .

    Cobb was lights out in the game last night .

    I feel in the case of Armstrong all along he’s plead his innocence and now he just wimps out by saying he won’t get a fair trial . This being the very same guy who speaks out of both sides of his mouth concerning cleaning up the sport .

    Armstrong has courted this all seeking empathy and like his fellow Texan Roger Clemens . It’s easy to see how the lies and everything else has panned out . His former teammates Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton stated Armstrong has been lying all along .

    Hamilton (also an admitted PED abuser) , having been subpoenaed (FBI) swore under oath that the statements he made were based in fact . In doing so he lost his own gold medal won at a prior Olympics . Lance Armstrong now lacks so much credibility that he is now a walking joke .

    Speaking of which do you really believe that Clemens wouldn’t love a chance of coming back to the Majors one more time ? Even if he is 50 , he’s probably better than the entire Astros’ pitching roster (Clemens’ hometown team) at their very best . Which isn’t saying much considering how bad the Astros have been this season !

    It’s not a conspiracy theory concerning baseball and the IOC . Selig didn’t acquiesce with regard to the more stringent demands made by the IOC concerning testing . The game’s governing body (IFAB) had agreed in principle to the demands thinking that Selig would toe the line . Instead he cowered like the bitch that he is , because of the Players’ Union who were dead set against the IOC’s edict. Donald Fehr , then , MLBPA Executive Director , said as much at the time , prior to baseball and softball being kicked off the roster of the events at the Summer Olympics .

    And now the sport as an international team competition is left with the lame a$# the World Baseball Classic . And that’s an event that is about as exciting as a proposed upcoming sex tape featuring Roseanne Barr and her present partner .

    Meanwhile his (Armstrong) foundation has taken in a half billion dollars ($500 million) cancer research donations . Now you tell me from a PR standpoint how the situation looks for Lance Armstrong ? Nike may well still be backing him to the hilt . But who thinks highly enough of that corporation to feel that they’re not ethically and morally challenged to begin with ? You only have to see the work conditions that they have at plants they either own or are affiliated with concerning the manufacturing of their apparel line . Now they’re backtracking on the price of the LBJ sneakers saying that the original price of $ 315-00 was not their original figure. Who the hell are Nike trying to dupe , other than the consumer ?

    Bucs Patriots tonight ! Which persona of the Bucs will turn up and how good will the secondary be ?

    Half empty Ray J , which to me what may well be indicative of the Bucs’ regular season foray ! Fair weather fans in the Bay area who’ll use the economy or any other means as an excuse . At the same time the Bucs’ Marketing & Sales Dept (led by Brian Ford ) have been about as useful as a busted condom would be to a hooker .

    The Glazers and their off-season spending concerning the Bucs was impressive but it means nothing if the team doesn’t win this season (winning record & make the playoffs) .

    Tophatal ………….

  16. When Augusta starts admitting lower middle class men who wear flip flops and tank tops and drink beer from cans then and only then wil I be impressed.

  17. sigh… thats MY BOY!!!

    Amen SC! This is an incredible post. Bravo!!

    You make us all proud (especially me). 🙂


  18. Al…

    The Rays are playing some inspirational ball right now, and they still can’t draw. I have a good feeling though, that come playoff time, a lot more tickets will be sold.

    Without getting too much into it here, Al, my Armstrong thoughts are up. Interested on your take. The whole thing is quite the mess.

    I’ll be working tonight and won’t be able to see the Bucs-Pats since it’s blacked out and not on TV. Did millions of people suddenly move out of the Tampa Bay area and me know not it?

  19. As you should, Bleed.

    Back in the day, I had a friend, white, who was born in South Africa. Not necessarily of the apartheid variety.

    He was looking to start up his own business in the US and trying to land some loans. I told him to apply as an African-American.

    I mean, that made perfect sense, right?

  20. Millions of people on the move in Tampa ? I’m sure it has nothing to do with the RNC get together . Minorities beware Joe Biden will be on the way to offer his take on the Republicans and slavery .

    If the Bucs can’t get 65,000 inside the Ray J , then their Marketing & Sales Dept isn’t worth ##it !

    Like I said , let Joe Redner take over running the pre-game and half-time entertainment for the Buccaneers and the stadium would be full for every home game on the Bucs’ schedule .

  21. The Augusta issue is a testy subject and personally I’ve never had a definitive position their admittance of women as member. They are a private club which gives them recent rights, but being the host of one of golf’s majors Augusta should stand for something greater than exclusion in a sport that is inclusionary (not a word but so what). For the record though they do allow women to play the course.

    Good piece Chris.


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