A big decision, small victories for everyone
La financista Darla Moore (foto del 24 de marzo del 2011) y la ex secretaria de estado estadounidense Condoleeza Rice (foto del 28 de enero del 2008) han sido invitadas aafiliarse al Augusta National Golf Club, sede del Masters. Serán las dos primerar mujeres admitidas en el club. (AP Photo/File)
NEW YORK (AP) — Don't overlook the two biggest winners in Augusta National's decision to invite women to join the club.
Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore are now members of one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the world. They will be presented green jackets when the golf course opens for a new season in October. They can attend the members-only parties, including the Jamboree each spring. Members are discouraged from playing too much at the home of the Masters, though they can bring guests and stay in the white cabins along the 10th fairway.
If their schedules allow, they will be assigned a committee during the Masters. They will be at the members-only dinner in an upstairs chalet at the end of the tournament to toast the newest Masters champion.
But they weren't the only winners.
The only thing Augusta National ever says about membership issues is that it doesn't discuss them. Nothing spoke to the historic nature of Monday's decision more than club chairman Billy Payne issuing a press release to confirm Rice and Moore as the newest members.
He called it a "joyous occasion," which could be interpreted many ways.
Perhaps the joy is knowing that he won't be fielding any more questions why Augusta National hasn't had a female member in its 80-year history. Or that the focus at the Masters can return to white dogwoods, pink azaleas and lightning fast greens.
FILE - This April 10, 2002 file photo shows Hootie Johnson, then chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, listens to a question from a reporter during a news conference at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. For the first time in its 80-year history, Augusta National Golf Club has female members. The home of the Masters, under increasing criticism the last decade because of its all-male membership, invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to become the first women in green jackets when the club opens for a new season in October. "This is a joyous occasion," Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said Monday, Aug. 20, 2012. The move likely ends a debate that intensified in 2002 when Martha Burk of the National Council of Women's Organizations urged the club to include women among its members. Former club chairman Hootie Johnson stood his ground, even at the cost of losing Masters television sponsors for two years, when he famously said Augusta National might one day have a woman in a green jacket, "but not at the point of a bayonet." (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
It does seem strange that keeping up with the times — some argue Augusta was a century behind — by adding female members would constitute a "joyous occasion."
Even so, Augusta National comes out a winner because it still called the shots.
Former chairman Hootie Johnson said as much 10 years ago when he felt Martha Burk and her women's advocacy group were threatening the Masters because the club had no women as members.
"There may well come a day when women will be invited to join our membership, but that timetable will be ours and not at the point of a bayonet," Johnson said.
In an interview in his office later that year, Johnson distributed a historical summary of the club and the Masters, the highest-rated golf telecast in the world.