Augusta National and the female question

Two rites of spring for many Georgians arrive today: the first round of the Masters in Augusta, and opening day for the Braves (albeit in New York this year). I’m a bigger fan of football than baseball or, especially, golf. But whether it’s because of the length of the season, the arguably greater unpredictability of the game, or simply the fact that it takes place in nature’s own season of renewal, there’s nothing quite like the blue-sky optimism of game No. 1 of 162 for a major league baseball team. (For the record, I like the Braves’ chances of making the postseason as long as we get health from the pitchers and merely average years from the hitters.)

As for the Masters, for the first time in awhile part of the storyline there centers on the Augusta National’s lack hitherto of female members. This once hot discussion was rekindled when a woman, Virginia Rometty, became chief executive of IBM — a position that, because of IBM’s longstanding role as a sponsor of the golf tournament, traditionally comes with the green jacket of club membership. Augusta National’s leaders have long said the club would accept a woman as a member at a time of its choosing. Will Rometty’s ascension at IBM trigger that choice?

Frankly, I couldn’t care less. Many women have played golf at Augusta National, so this isn’t even a question of access. The club is a private organization, and it has as much right to stick to an all-male membership as the Boy Scouts have to accept only boys, and the Girl Scouts only girls. As someone whose own chances of joining the club are only infinitesimally greater than the chances of every woman in the world, I have a hard time getting worked up about it either way. Augusta National can maintain or change its ways and deal with whatever public criticism comes its way. No skin off my back.

What I do find interesting, however, is that this discussion about equal standing for women would be renewed during our era of demonizing “the rich” and “the 1 percent.” Could there be any less meaningful sign of equal standing for any group than the acceptance of one of its members into a private club for the 1 percent of the 1 percent of the 1 percent?

– By Kyle Wingfield

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190 comments Add your comment

ByteMe

April 5th, 2012
12:19 pm

Ooohh… an irony post! Good show, Kyle!!

Here’s more irony for ya:

The Center For Health Transformation, a think tank founded by Newt Gingrich to generate legislative proposals for health care reform, is filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Much like Gingrich’s campaign, it appears as if struggles with debt were its biggest problem. The Chronicle reports it has $1 million to $10 million in liabilities.

The group became a liability for Gingrich on the campaign trail last year after it was discovered its website forcefully called for a mandate requiring citizens to purchase health insurance — exactly the position enacted by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts and President Obama in his 2010 health care law.

carlosgvv

April 5th, 2012
12:20 pm

Even thought I am a male, my chances of ever gaining membership at Augusta National are about zero. This is an exclusive club for rich and powerful men. Because of this, like you Kyle, I could not possibly care less about a club that excludes not only women but at least 99% of all men.

ByteMe

April 5th, 2012
12:30 pm

Even if they allowed women in the Club, I still wouldn’t watch the Masters.

Kyle Wingfield

April 5th, 2012
12:32 pm

C’mon, ByteMe. It’s worth watching just for the scenery. (And I mean that in the real, not the ironically euphemistic, sense.)

Cassie

April 5th, 2012
12:40 pm

Well it’s perfectly understandable.

They just want to keep out the icky girls, because if they were allowed into the treehouse, then girls might discover the code to the boys’ super-secret decoder rings, and then the boys wouldn’t be able to send each other secret messages about Ovaltine anymore. It’s important!

/peals of laughter/

ByteMe

April 5th, 2012
12:42 pm

It’s worth watching just for the scenery

Seriously? We both have little kids at the right age that are more marvelous to watch than some flowering trees broken up by plaid-clad men chasing a little white ball. My vote’s to watch the kids play instead. Maybe we’ll drive down to Calloway Gardens instead.

I read where the blooms came too early this year.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 5th, 2012
12:48 pm

“by plaid-clad men chasing a little white ball.”

You don’t get out much, do you, ByteMe?

Plaid went out in the 70’s, son. For pretty much everything and everybody.

Kyle Wingfield

April 5th, 2012
12:49 pm

Well, my kids still take naps in the afternoon…

And my older son’s favorite color is green 8)

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 5th, 2012
12:50 pm

On topic:

Private organization gets to make their own rules.

If IBM no longer wishes to renew their sponsorship because of the rules, that’s their choice as well.

Thank God government isn’t in the middle of this one, even if we can’t keep the political hacks from making it an issue.

Don't Tread

April 5th, 2012
1:09 pm

“Thank God government isn’t in the middle of this one…”

…yet.

Give it time, though, and there will be screams of “equality”, “no justice, no peace”, “1%”, and whatever other slogans that people with single-digit IQs can remember and chant on cue from their self-appointed masters. (no pun intended)

carlosgvv

April 5th, 2012
1:20 pm

It’s hard to believe that grown men and women actually get paid large sums of money to see who can knock a little white ball into a hole in the ground with the fewest hits.

ragnar danneskjold

April 5th, 2012
1:21 pm

Only leftists think there is need to micromanage the intellectual preferences of individuals. Conservatives do not care unless someone dies.

Bryan G.

April 5th, 2012
1:21 pm

This is the biggest non story totally manufactured in the media. Who gives a flying fig? Private club…they can keep women out if they want. Women can make their own darn club if they don’t like it.

UGA 1999

April 5th, 2012
1:22 pm

Logical Dude

April 5th, 2012
1:44 pm

I hope they do invite her. That way, all those “all-men” supporters can get their panties in a wad.

No other reason really, only for the entertainment value. ;)

Otherwise, they are a private club and invite who they want to invite. If one happens to be a women, then cool, if not, also cool. Although if I was in the club, I’d want some women around me.

getalife

April 5th, 2012
1:47 pm

The gop war on women is pathetic.

Do you feel that?

That is the feeling of a come back.

Lets all thank President Obama for saving our country from the w disaster.

ByteMe

April 5th, 2012
2:09 pm

Well, my kids still take naps in the afternoon…

Sigh. I wish. Mine are non-stop from dawn to night and have been since they turned 2.

As for his favorite color: “Green is good” :)

Centrist

April 5th, 2012
2:11 pm

This on Drudge: “Obama weighs in on Augusta National golf dispute… “. His mouth engages before his brain – just like the SCOTUS and hoodie/stand your ground issues.

On another subject – Santorum out on Monday unless he wants to be embarrassed by losing his PA home state primary later this month (along with all of the rest of primaries until he finally quits). An incumbent ex-Senator who got trounced in a re-election attempt is not exactly presidential timber. He has no chance in 2016 being jobless, and lots of GOP Governors/ Congressmen already jockeying for position.

Jefferson

April 5th, 2012
2:19 pm

Her best chance has to do with money, nothing else.

Just saying..

April 5th, 2012
2:20 pm

As long as Dusty and Linda are good with it…

Mountain Man

April 5th, 2012
2:42 pm

I only think they should keep out the real riff-raff, you know, white men under 50.

Mountain Man

April 5th, 2012
2:43 pm

Especially those with blond hair and blue eyes.

md

April 5th, 2012
2:52 pm

“It’s hard to believe that grown men and women actually get paid large sums of money to see who can knock a little white ball into a hole in the ground with the fewest hits.”…or:

Throw and hit a little white ball….or
Kick a ball into a net……or
Throw a ball into a net……or
Drive a car in circles……or
Throw, catch, and run with an oblong ball….or
Report non-news on a news channel….or
Play dress-up in Hollywood……or
Tell non-funny jokes late at night…..or
Insert other ridiculous things we over pay for………..

While we under pay those that actually put their lives on the line……such as:

Firefighters
Police Officers
Soldiers
Paramedics
Etc

md

April 5th, 2012
2:57 pm

“Mine are non-stop from dawn to night and have been since they turned 2.”

Ahh….the good years……enjoy them while you can. The teen years are just around the corner and then you get to be stupid for at least a decade………..

md

April 5th, 2012
2:58 pm

Cassie…..too funny.

We had girls in our treehouse and liked to play Doctor……..I know these days some play doctor without the girls, but I’d still prefer the girls.

Linda

April 5th, 2012
2:58 pm

GOLF: Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden

If I was Ms. Rometty & Augusta National invited me to join, I would politely decline. I respect tradition. I respect the right of freedom of association. I respect men’s rights. I respect rights to form a private club & to adhere to the rules on membership. If I was Ms. Rometty, I would make my opinions clear prior to any invitation. I would be insulted to be issued an invitation. I would feel uncomfortable to be the only woman in a men’s only club & to be invited only for a sponsorship.

Furthermore, I would not be caught dead in one of those putrid green jackets.

David Granger

April 5th, 2012
2:59 pm

President Obama just weighed in on the “controversy”, and he feels that the Augusta National should allow women to join.

I agree with him completely. But to be fair, the Augusta National IS a private club, with the perfect legal right to set its own membership policies.

And while we’re discussing such subjects, I would like to point out that several caucasian (and one Asian) legislators have tried to join the Congressional Black Caucus. They have a number of African-Americans in their districts, and they feel that being in the CBC would give them a greater insight to some of the concerns of African-Americans, which would help them better serve a big portion of their constituency. But the Congressional Black Caucus restricts its membership to Blacks-Only…even though some of the costs (meeting rooms, secretarial staff, light bills, etc.) are paid for by the government.

If you’re not a hypocrite, Mr. President, I think that your intervention on behalf of these non-Black congressmen and congresswomen…and your support for their inclusion into the group…would go a LONG way towards changing CBC policy.

How about it, sir?

ByteMe

April 5th, 2012
3:07 pm

The teen years are just around the corner and then you get to be stupid for at least a decade………..

Yeah, I know what’s coming (this is my second set). I’m really enjoying this part, though.

getalife

April 5th, 2012
3:09 pm

Thank you President Obama for fighting for women.

Gimme Gimme Gimme

April 5th, 2012
3:13 pm

“Thank you President Obama for fighting for women.”

Then why did he select a Supreme Court Justice who belonged to an all female club.

Gimme Gimme Gimme

April 5th, 2012
3:17 pm

Woman used to fight for equality and were tough as nails. Suddenly they are helpless little girls that need help from the government just to survive.

Just a shame.

getalife

April 5th, 2012
3:18 pm

Why are there no women on this blog?

Because they are under attack and left the gop.

Gimme Gimme Gimme

April 5th, 2012
3:20 pm

Let’s stop the Obama War on Religion!

getalife

April 5th, 2012
3:21 pm

gim,

Why do corporations need welfare?

Can they not stand on their own?

md

April 5th, 2012
3:24 pm

“Why do corporations need welfare?”

To pay for your retirement??

Ayn Rant

April 5th, 2012
3:27 pm

It takes Republican politicians to turn women against men.I think there’s an ancient Greek play about that.

Gimme Gimme Gimme

April 5th, 2012
3:27 pm

I guess POTUS is going to give a speech a day to get on TV.

Looks like he didn’t raise that $1 Billion after all.

Junior Samples

April 5th, 2012
3:29 pm

Hilarious tie in Kyle.

“This once hot discussion was rekindled”
Yeah, rekindled every year.

“What I do find interesting, however, is that this discussion about equal standing for women would be renewed during our era of demonizing “the rich” ”

Just a coincidence, it happens every year, keep moving.

Linda

April 5th, 2012
3:34 pm

Anyone who thinks the Augusta National is discriminating against women is foolish. I would bet there is not a single member who has not been married at least once, loves all their female family members & respects all their female associates.

WOW

April 5th, 2012
3:36 pm

@ Centrist:

His weighing in was the Press Secretary being asked a question and then answering it. That’s hardly getting involved.

Kyle Wingfield

April 5th, 2012
3:39 pm

Junior Samples: It’s possible that I’ve missed it, but I don’t recall nearly as much talk about it in the last several years.

midtownguy

April 5th, 2012
3:45 pm

Augusta National has the right to admit whom they please. Sponsors have the right to withdraw sponsorship if they don’t like the club policies.

One thing does puzzles me. I can’t remember the name of the club, the it was over in BIrmingham and was all white. The PGA would not allow an event there until they admitted a minority member. How is this different?

Billy Peeler

April 5th, 2012
3:49 pm

It’s different, midtownguy, because the Masters is NOT a PGA event. It is sponsored solely by the Augusta National Golf Club, and is not under any of the rules or regulations of the PGA.

jewcowboy

April 5th, 2012
3:52 pm

Do they allow men in Curves?

Jefferson

April 5th, 2012
3:53 pm

I thought md was a capitalist, so why are cops underpaid ?

ByteMe

April 5th, 2012
3:54 pm

but I don’t recall nearly as much talk about it in the last several years.

You haven’t missed it. It’s been quiet for something like 6 or 7 years now.

Oooh, this’ll leave a mark on some of the partisan hacks in the comment section:

Asked whether women should be admitted to the all-male Augusta National Golf Club, Mitt Romney on Thursday said “yes.”

jewcowboy

April 5th, 2012
3:56 pm

“The PGA would not allow an event there until they admitted a minority member.”

Augusta National Golf Club admitted their first black member in 1990: Ron Townsend, President Gannet Television.

midtownguy

April 5th, 2012
3:56 pm

I did not know that. But in 2012 this does seem a little silly. I mean what is your possible objection to a female member other than it has always been traditionally male. Besides, I don’t know many women who would wear the supremely ugly green blazer.

Jefferson

April 5th, 2012
3:59 pm

Must be choices they made, eh ?

Kyle Wingfield

April 5th, 2012
4:00 pm

Ok, so maybe I’m going to take back that Braves prediction…or emphasize the conditions I placed on it…pretty ugly 1-0 loss.