By Ken Reed


Augusta National has long been driven by hypocrisy.

Augusta’s chairmen — from Clifford Roberts, to Hootie Johnson, to Billy Payne — have consistently said that what they do at Augusta National is a private matter.

But they’ve never had any problem completely opening up their club, via television, to the general public during the week of the Masters. Based on TV ratings, the Masters is the most public event in golf every year. I guess the millions of dollars from TV rights Augusta’s members rake in during Masters week mean more to them than their cherished privacy policy.

On another front, Augusta’s chairmen have long taken pride in boasting about their efforts to “grow the game.” But I always wondered, how can you truly be interested in growing the game when you adamantly refuse to allow membership in your golf club to one gender? Did they ever bother to think what that sexist policy communicates to potential female golfers?

Even when Augusta National does the right thing, and opens its doors to female members, hypocrisy remains the club’s calling card. For years, whenever he’s been asked about the possibility of female membership, Billy Payne has proclaimed that Augusta’s membership is a “private” issue.

So, one would’ve thought that Augusta National might’ve stuck to that “membership is a private matter” policy when they decided to add a couple female members. However, when making the decision to add Darla Moore and Condoleezza Rice to its membership roster, Augusta National’s power brokers decided to once again set aside its proud value of privacy by announcing the move to add female members from the highest mountaintop. Payne, and his green-coated colleagues, knew the decision to add Rice and Moore would have positive PR benefits, while alleviating pressure on the club, so they decided to once again toss aside their cherished privacy policy by going public with the news of its two newest members.

Augusta National has finally decided to enter the 21st century by adding a couple female members. So, praise is indeed due Augusta National’s leaders for finally doing the right thing. It just would be nice if once — just once — they did the right thing for the right thing’s sake, instead of for money or public relations reasons.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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