Augusta National finally admits female members. Pigs seen flying.
Augusta is one of the most exclusive clubs on the planet. Its rules and regulations used to fly in the face of social norms and logic. It formerly included policies such as insisting all caddies must be black and no female members. In fact, up until 1990, no black person could be a member of Augusta National, regardless of sex.
That is why today’s news is so incredible, albeit incredibly belated. Augusta National has invited former US Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice and business executive Darla Moore to become members and don their very own green jacket.
“This is a joyous occasion as we enthusiastically welcome Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National Golf Club.”, Augusta Club Chairman Billy Payne said in a statement.
“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.”
Current Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne certainly comes across as a little more progressive than his predecessor Hootie Johnson, although a wooden stake looks more progressive than Hootie Johnson. Some golf pundits believed Payne would eventually encourage female members to the club but few believed it would come this quickly in his tenure.
This obviously should have been done 20 years ago, but Augusta National is a special kind of place where its members fix the rules. Augusta is like a microworld of golf and they decide when and how golf is played within its fences.
I, along with many others applaud the move which now leaves the all-male Royal and Ancient domain looking very alone in their sexist policy. Could Augusta now lead the world with other golf policies? A standard golf ball to be used at the US Masters perhaps? I would have thought it impossible six months ago, but after this decision, anything is possible.