The Augusta Question:

  |   cl blog


I watched exactly 32 minutes of The Master’s this past week. For the record…I hate The Masters. Not the tournament itself. The actual golf is its only saving grace.

What I abhor is the genuflecting of the national media who dutifully grovel at the soft-spike saddle shoes of the Augusta National membership. They’re like wannabe fraternity pledges, scared to death they’ll never be invited back to the party if they dare call fans anything but “patrons” or the rough something besides “the first cut.” Don’t believe me…ask Gary McCord.

And, as pathetic as I find all this…what really gets my gag reflex going is the overwrought deference and hushed tones of Jim Nance and Mike Tirico. Guys…seriously…grow a pair.

Defenders will say all this over-the-top pretentiousness, with accompanying bowing and scraping by the media, just hearkens back to a bye-gone era when golf was a more genteel game. Well, I say let bye-gones be bye-gones. Besides weren’t those “good ol’ days” the same ones when people thought black-faced lawn jockeys were cool? Never mind…I’ll ask Tom Hanks.

Which brings me to my point (Finally!). This year, even more so than in the past few, the light of scrutiny was cast upon the Augusta National Golf Club and its lack of women members. The hubbub was over the fact that Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, one of only three Masters’ sponsors, is female and would never be considered for membership in the Augusta National Golf Club. Heck, even President Obama chimed in on the matter. (Bet George Zimmerman was glad the Prez found something else to comment on for a while.)

All of these do-good crusaders clamoring for Augusta National to change its evil ways are at best misguided and at worst they’re playing straight into the wrinkly old hands of the Augusta National membership. These guys eat this kinda stuff up. They’re in the business of shutting people out and thumbing their noses at the “little people” of the world. It gets their rocks off faster than a stock split.

For the life of me, I can’t imagine why Ms Rometty would want to join…if indeed she does. I don’t believe it is about golf. I don’t believe it is about “networking.” (She’s the CEO of freaking IBM after all. I think she’s got the networking angle covered.) Rather, I think this entire argument is simply about sticking it to the a-holes at Augusta National, and bringing them to heel. And, as much as I viscerally would like to go along with this argument, I just can’t. Truth is…they have the right to be A-holes. It’s a private club. They bought and paid for that right.

If the goal is to simply shove it up the…uh…noses of Billy and the boys, you need a different tactic. What you need to do is stop playing their stupid game. Simple as that.

It’s not like Ms Rometty is June Cleaver, cleaning house while the boys go play golf. She’s obviously got some wherewithal. And, there’s more where she came from. In fact 12 of the Fortune 500 companies are run by women. Approximately 40 percent of all MBA’s last year were earned by women. And, nearly 1 in 10 of all adult women in the U.S. is an entrepreneur. What I’m saying is…fight fire with fire.

At any given time, there are upwards of 200 golf courses for sale in the US. Ms Rometty and crew should go buy one of those. Decree it an all-female membership. Get a solid cadre of up-and-coming (or already arrived) female executives, professionals and business owners. And, shut the boys out. I guarantee the media would love it. This new club would get all the fawning praise it could handle, and the members wouldn’t have to wear those ugly green jackets or eat stupid cheese sandwiches.

Best of all, perhaps we could stop worrying over the unfairness of Augusta National and turn our collective attentions to something that really matters. Like the upcoming NFL draft.