One Final Round-Up Of Augusta's Monday Morning News

I'm fascinated by the breadth and variety of the Condi-gets-into-Augusta coverage, if nothing else because it beats reading about the Algorithm Cup. And unlike some, I do find this to be a "joyous" occasion because the Masters will once again be about golf.

Before the latest round of clippings, some food for thought about the orchestration of ANGC's "announcement." Longtime readers know I'm a connoisseur of the Friday afternoon news dump because, let's be honest here, as a 24/7 blogger I dread checking my email on Friday's out of concern for the inevitable dumpage of embarrassing, awkward or inconvenient news.

That said, the club deserves praise for not trying to hide this announcement. They could have easily picked a busier news week, say, during one of the upcoming political conventions and issued their press release at 4:30 ET on a Friday. There is certainly the chance that the AP scooped them and got a hold of the story and forced their hand. But everything I read suggested this Monday morning news was a well-thought out and unusually transparent announcement for any organization on the hot seat. It was especially impressive given that this is an organization known to be notoriously private in its club dealings.

And away they go...

I thought the WSJ's Jason Gay did a nice job summing up the situation.

Payne appears to realize this. One does not call something a "joyous occasion" if it is not, in fact, a joyous occasion, aka a relief. "A significant and positive time in our Club's history." That's not the outside world, barging with a bayonet. That's Augusta National, finally making sense.
They did the right thing, even if it took so long, Earth is rolling its eyes. Golf is slow and weird. But progress is progress.

Bob Harig notes:

The public, for the most part, doesn't care about this fight. Based on attendance and television ratings, few were boycotting the year's first major championship. Most who weigh in on the subject miss the point by bringing up all-female gyms or organizations. Why can't men be part of that?

Again, Augusta National is different. Much different.

John Barton for

The world did not stop turning. As far as we know, hell did not freeze over. When the announcement came -- a press release from Augusta National Golf Club informing the world that the infamously male-only club had finally added two women members -- it did not seem so much like a bombshell, but rather as something inevitable, and perhaps long overdue.

Michael Rosenberg of wasn't impressed with the announcement timing.

The wait seemed silly. But for Augusta National, the wait was the point. Augusta National admitted two women, and that is the big story around the country. At the club, though, the story is a bit different: Augusta National admitted who it wanted, when it wanted. And it always will.

Uh, that's why it's called a club! That's what clubs do!

I thought his colleague Michael Bamberger was much more sensible.

And, yes, the oldest of the old guard, dying or already dead, will think the world has gone to hell in a hand basket because of this simple act. That's proof of how important these admissions are. For decades, decades after Jackie Robinson, Augusta National had no black members. Then they were shamed into admitting black members. And now, 20 years later, anyone who visits Augusta National doesn't think twice to see a black man in a green coat. Next April, when we see two women in club coats, it'll cause a little bit of a double-take. But the guess here is that by 2014, you won't even notice, and we'll all start to focus on some new thing.

A snarky New York Times editorial:

Excuse our lack of enthusiasm for a decision to do the right thing a few generations too late. It’s hard to believe that a decade has passed since the last uproar. Augusta National, which added its first black member in 1990, has missed lots of chances to broaden and diversify its membership. Now, with two women in the club, it has finally reached the point of gender tokenism.

Ed Sherman thinks last year's press conference was the turning point for the club and breaks it down. Even I found it painful to read again, just because I remember at the time thinking that Billy Payne knew the questions were legitimate and was embarrassed it was overshadowing the tournament.

GolfChannel with a wrap up of the various quotes from players and VIP's, including Tiger Woods and presidential candidate Mitt Romney's tweet.

This wire story notes White House spokesman Jay Carney's remarks on behalf of the president.

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama also welcomed the move.

“I think you’ll recall that when I was asked about this back when the Masters were about to take place ... I actually spoke with the president, and his answer was very clear: women should be admitted,” Carney said.

“And he welcomes this development, thinks it was too long in coming but obviously believes it’s the right thing to do.”

Robert Lusetich makes a fair point that this is not a civil rights victory as some have suggested.

It might be a milestone for some women. But what it’s not, and never has been, is some kind of victory for civil rights.

I have always been appalled that admitting a wealthy woman into Augusta National can in any way be equated to the civil rights battles.

Rosa Parks was told to get out of a seat on a bus — a seat designated for “coloreds” — so a white person could sit down.

There is a spectacular unbylined New Zealand rant worth reading if nothing else for its train wreck qualities, touching on water boarding, the club's fear of losing sponsors (uh…eh forget it) and even the Formby Ladies Golf Club warrants a message.

Garry Smits takes a closer look at the two new members and says they sport impressive resumes.

Alan Shipnuck offers some background on Darla Moore from his research for his 2003 book.

Given her close ties to Johnson, Moore had long wondered if she might someday have to find the right accessories to go with a green jacket.

"I asked Hootie about it once," said Moore, who is reputed to have a nice golf swing but an erratic short game. "This was before I had had any real exposure to Augusta -- I knew very little about its mystique, although that's changed. Anyway, I said, 'Hootie, how does one get to be a member?' And he said, 'You don't ask.' Oh, I got it. End of conversation.”

Now Moore will forever be part of Augusta National's story. She may be a trailblazer for women, but it's clear Moore will have no trouble fitting in with the good ol' boys and masters of the universe who populate her new golf club.

Farrell Evans would like to see the first two female members become pioneers.

But the onus doesn't fall exclusively on the club to make the acceptance of women more than merely a first to add to some tally of achievements for women and minorities in the game. Rice and Moore should encourage the club to bring a women's event to the course, and spearhead efforts to elevate women in the sport around the world with the same ferocity that it has tried to promote golf in Asia.

It's not out of bounds to ask Rice and Moore to carry the burden of representing the interests of women at the club, especially when they have been added to the membership primarily on the basis of their gender.

Yet if they were the meddlesome type, the club probably would never have considered them.