Marcia Chambers, a former reporter for the AP and the New York Times, wrote The Unplayable Lie about women and country club/golf club membership policies in the United States. She believes that the person who deserves the most credit indirectly for Monday’s announcement is IBM CEO Virginia Rometty. She made news earlier this year when she was not admitted as a member unlike her predecessors at IBM. The Augusta National faced pressure on the issue and the wheels began to turn in her opinion. As a result, the Augusta National has invited two female members.
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem issued a statement about how important this decision is for the game of golf in the United States and around the world. This decision is certainly historic but it is a long time coming as a number of other clubs who had previously been all-male now have female members. Augusta National has made this decision at its own pace and now that it has happened, it will be interesting to see what happens in the future.
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews has had its own issues with its all-male membership as well as the fact that several clubs who host the Open Championship have all-male memberships. The R&A has made clear that it will proceed at its own pace and it will be interesting to see what happens.
The reason that the coverage of this subject has been so difficult is because so many clubs who have all-male memberships do not want to be in the news and it is surprising to her that the Augusta National Golf Club would allow itself to be in the news so many times for this reason. When she was first covering this story in the 1990’s, the way that she was able to start making progress was that there were a number of lawsuits related to membership policies that could be defined as discriminatory. She was able to interview various people who were filing lawsuits against those clubs.
This is an excellent day and a historic day for women and golf and while we do not exactly know what will result from this, we do know that this is a turning point.
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