So why are the sports and news media pundits along with all those previously mealy-mouthed, noodle-spined tour professionals suddenly making this such a big deal?
Augusta ought to be embarrassed. That elitist, snobbish 80-year old place has been so far behind the times it thinks it’s still part of the “Dirty 30’s” when it was founded. Indeed, the place is so backward it wasn’t until 1990 when the golf club finally allowed a Black to join — something only the PGA would dare classify an “Achievement.”
A couple of years ago, Augusta Chairman Billy Payne even had the moralizing stones to weigh in on role models while condemning Tiger Woods over sex scandals.
In 2002, when Augusta’s discrimination against women membership became a national controversy, it’s then-Chairman, the aptly named ‘couldn’t give a hoot’ Hootie Johnson, turned back criticism from NOW’s Martha Burk, saying, “we all have a moral and legal right to organize our clubs the way we wish.”
Hootie, though, now sings a different tune. After having once said Augusta wouldn’t admit women even “if I drop dead this second,” he’s now bragging on himself about how he was the one who personally nominated one of the club’s first two female members, Darla Moore. Recalling the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, “Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.”
Still, such tardy prudence is hardly cause for celebration. As the NY Times rightly opined, “Excuse our lack of enthusiasm for a decision to do the right thing a few generations too late.”
And besides, why does it even matter that Augusta has supposedly crossed the Rubicon of race and gender? The latest token gender members, the well-heeled and well-connected A-list Republican Condoleezza Rice and billionairess Darla Moore are part of the rarefied elites.
Augusta will always remain an arrogant bastion of classism. The naked unwashed epitomized by Joe Six-Pack , Two-Buck Chuck, Jane Schmoe and their Hispanic cousin, Juan Pérez, need not apply — nor will their likes be forming a low-rent, cut-off jeans foursome there anytime soon.
Photo Credits: “Joe Biden, Caricature,” by DonkeyHotey at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution; “The Three Mules,” by Jo Naylor at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution; “Golf Porn,” by Mike D. Merrill at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution.