All Articles Tagged "Augusta Golf"
“Today, one of the last bastions of male supremacy is no more,” USA Today sports columnist, Christine Brennan announced, “Today, Augusta National has made a crucial statement to every girl and woman who has thought about picking up a golf club. The message is simple: You are welcome.”
Nearly 80 years after it opened for play, and twenty-two years after accepting Black men, the Augusta National Golf Club is allowing two women — former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and business executive Darla Moore — to join the all-boys club.
In a statement released by the club, Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said:
“This is a joyous occasion as we enthusiastically welcome Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National Golf Club. We are fortunate to consider many qualified candidates for membership at Augusta National. Consideration with regard to any candidate is deliberate, held in strict confidence and always takes place over an extended period of time. The process for Condoleezza and Darla was no different.
These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership. It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their Green Jackets when the Club opens this fall.
This is a significant and positive time in our Club’s history and, on behalf of our membership, I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome them and all of our new members into the Augusta National family.”
The club’s “no girls allowed” policy has been a contentious point of debate for years. The New York Times reported:
In 2002 Martha Burk of the National Council of Women’s Organizations began a campaign that urged the club to include women. Hootie Johnson, the chairman at the time, said he would not be forced “at the point of a bayonet” to admit women.
Just this past April, Billy Payne stumbled over questions about their policy and offered that it was a “membership issue” and ultimately a “private matter”. Not all press is good press though, and just months after that PR fiasco, the club has changed their stance.
In a statement released by the club, Condoleezza said she looks forward to becoming a member:
“I have visited Augusta National on several occasions and look forward to playing golf, renewing friendships and forming new ones through this very special opportunity. I have long admired the important role Augusta National has played in the traditions and history of golf. I also have an immense respect for the Masters tournament and its commitment to grow the game of golf, particularly with youth, here in the United States and throughout the world.”
Why Condi? She told Golf Digest that she took up the sport seven years ago at the age of 50 as an escape from long hours in the West Wing. Naturally (and perhaps surprisingly) athletic, she was a competitive figure skater when she was younger and plays tennis now. She’s also really into the NFL. Since taking up golf, Condoleezza has memberships at Stanford Golf Course, San Francisco Golf Club, Shoal Creek, and Country Club of Birmingham. Though she’s not hardly the only Black woman to pick up a golf club, Augusta was looking to make headlines thus Condi was an obvious choice.
Undoubtedly, the leaders of Augusta National are patting themselves on the back right now and toasting to their own progress, but admitting Darla Moore and Condoleezza Rice is still only a teensy step in the right direction. In fact, this would be a legitimately laudable move if it were say, 1940, but in 2012 admitting two women is hardly cause for more than a “finally”. In fact, Augusta should be embarrassed that it took them this long to allow female members.
Still, it’s a good moment for Condoleezza personally who has spent most of her life blasting through one glass ceiling after another. Her politics are highly controversial, but considering her life overall, she’s practically made a career out of inhabiting places previously off-limits to women and black people in general. In fact, for a woman like Condi, being admitted to an all-boys club is probably just another Monday for her. Let’s just hope there will be more joining the club in the future, just like her.
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