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Augusta National: Cause for celebration?

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The Augusta National Golf Club has invited two women to be members.


The home of The Masters has long been derided for hosting one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments but for shutting women out of its membership. That changed Monday when the club extended membership to former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina businesswoman Darla Moore.

But should we really celebrate Augusta for what it has done?

I mean, it is 2012 for crying out loud.

Celebrations, it seems to be, should be reserved for those who excel. For those who do something amazing. For those who go above and beyond. Did the up-until-now-all-male membership of Augusta go above and beyond by finally admitting women well into the 21st Century? Hardly seems so to me.

Yes, this day has been a long time coming, and yes, I’m glad that it happened. And hey, it doesn’t hurt anything that Rice and Moore are such distinguished women. Rice’s brilliance was often on display during her time in the White House, and Moore is a former banking magnate known for her toughness. These are two women who have resumes that would admit them into any elite club.

But there have been plenty of other distinguished women over the years who were just as worthy of Augusta membership.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, this has been an issue to me because Augusta hosts The Masters. The club wants the golf world to come to its course, to celebrate its grandeur, to marvel at its wonder, but then, it didn’t want to budge on an equal-rights issue that this country long ago settled.

The private club chose to open its gates to the world for The Masters, and by doing so, it opened itself up to scrutiny.

So, I’m glad that Augusta finally did what’s right.

I’m just not going to celebrate.

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Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›