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Darrell Huckaby: Augusta National's decision a win-win

Darrell Huckaby

Darrell Huckaby

"Augusta National caved."

That's how the text read the one that first made me aware of big doings 120 miles to our east, give or take a long drive and a short approach shot.

Next came a breaking news message from WSB. I think they may call that a tweet, but I'm not sure. "Augusta National admits two women."

Well there you go. Condi Rice and Darla Moore apparently have been admitted to full membership to Augusta National Golf Club. I know all about Ms. Rice, the former Secretary of State. Honesty compels me to admit that I had never heard of Ms. Moore or Mrs. Moore or whatever. At first I assumed she was the newly named chief executive of IBM or one of the girls who used to cause so much trouble for Spanky and Alfalfa on the "Little Rascals."

It turns out she is neither, but has been called, or so I heard, by Fortune Magazine "one of the toughest babes in business. Well there you go. I say good for Condoleezza and good for Darla and good for Augusta National. It is a win, win, win if you ask me.

In case the big news caught you unawares I will give you a little background. Staid old Augusta National has been under fire for several years now because they had never invited a single female to join their old boys' club, although I'm not sure how everyone knew that because their membership rolls have always been private. But you know how those feminists are. Once they get the scent of a bunch of guys having a good time without any women around, they are going to run that rabbit to ground.

I don't remember how many years ago it was, but a while back a woman named Martha Burke thought she would either put Augusta National to shame by organizing a protest of their annual golf get-together or force them to invite a woman to join. She got all the media stirred up for weeks and threatened to organize a huge boycott of the tournament's television sponsors.

I believe old Hootie Johnson was still in charge back then. Hootie never said his club wouldn't invite a woman or two to join if they ever got the notion, he simply said it would be when the membership decided it was the right time, not when Martha Burke told them it was. I say hooray for Hootie.

He made sure there would be no boycott of any television sponsors that year because he decided they would hold the Masters without benefit of television revenue that year. He told CBS they were welcome to broadcast the tournament if they wanted to -- they just couldn't sell or show advertising.

They don't allow more than two or three minutes worth an hour anyway. I wish a few other major sporting events would follow their lead.

Martha Burke was allowed to protest, on some vacant lot far from the public eye. She held her breath until she turned blue in the face but she didn't get her way and when she realized that she also wasn't going to get much attention, she kind of just shriveled up and went away.

A few months ago a lady named Virginia Rometty was installed as the CEO of IBM. Apparently the person that has held that position has always been a member of Augusta National. Rometty's appointment started things up all over again. Would she be invited or would she be denied? This time it was Billy Payne and not Hootie Johnson having to field all the questions from the media. He had a little more tact that his predecessor did but said basically the same thing. It is our club and our decision and we will not admit anyone while under duress.

And, true to his word, he didn't. He announced the membership of Rice and Moore on a Monday afternoon when nobody -- not even Arnold Palmer or Tiger Woods had the Masters on their mind. He even caught the membership off-guard with his announcement.

And he and the membership committee -- or whoever makes such decisions -- invited two strong, successful women of their own choosing and not someone the news media or a 21st century suffragette told them they had to invite. One of them was a black woman.

So now the whole thing will soon be a non-issue and the pot-stirrers of the world will have to find something else to complain about. Hopefully they will do it in a land far, far away and not on the banks of the Savannah River.

Now if you will excuse me, I have a busy afternoon. I am trying to get Condi on the phone right now to see if she can hook me up with a couple of badges for next April. After that I am going to fill out one more application to try to become a member of the DAR. If they don't let me in this time, I'm calling MSNBC and getting a little protest started. I might even ask Martha Burke to help. I don't think she's busy these days.

Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at dhuck08@bellsouth.net. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.