Augusta National Golf Club chairman Billy Payne held court on Wednesday morning in his annual “State of the Masters” press conference. The event lacked the fireworks, awkward drama and antagonistic atmosphere that was prevalent last year when the media confronted Payne on the club’s hypocrisy — he preached about growing junior golf, while Augusta National passively discriminated against 51% of the population in the U.S.
For the first time in the history of the Masters tournament, there are women donning green jackets. Last August, Augusta National chairman Billy Payne announced that the prestigious club had invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and business executive Darla Moore as its first female members, breaking the
dated tradition of the longtime all men’s club.
This week Rice and Moore will sport their spiffy green coats at the Masters. Rice was on the grounds on Sunday (as seen above) and she even got in a round with Phil Mickelson, who couldn’t stop raving about her putting skills, according to The Augusta Chronicle.
Finally–perhaps the understatement of the century (pick one), but Augusta National Golf Club has done away with its sexist Membership policy and accepted not just one woman, but two!
By now, you’ve probably seen some version of The Awkward Handshake That Shook The World With Laughter, but it really doesn’t get old (and probably never will). I watched it on loop in the press center with awe and marvel, not to mention trying not to fall out of my chair giggling — that would have been totally embarrassing!
Well, the above clip shows Billy Payne going in to shake 2012 Masters champ Bubba Watson’s hand and then getting nothing but air. You see, Bubba started to extend his hand toward the Chairman until he saw the shiny green jacket that Charl Schwartzel was holding, so naturally, Bubba turned to Charl.
The controversy surrounding Augusta National’s refusal to countenance female membership has broken the fourth wall and sparked a high-profile, if localised, revolt within the Masters press corps.
No need for Martha Burk to picket and protest outside the gates at Augusta National anymore (not that it was ever really a productive exercise), big-time politicians, including President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney both think women should be granted membership at the all-male golf club, home of the famed Masters, according to the AP:
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Once again, the membership at the host club of The Masters is back in the spotlight.
During the annual press conference with Augusta National Golf Club chairman, Billy Payne, the subject of its male-only membership was not only broached, but called into question. In a session with the assembled media which lasted just over 30 minutes, Payne was repeatedly bombarded with questions about why Augusta National not only has yet to admit a female member, but its refusal to answer why.
By now, you’ve likely heard the intriguing yet surprising news: The Masters is opening Augusta National to the gaming public. That’s right. If you have a compatible device (Wii, PlayStation, X-Box etc.), then you can step on those hallowed grounds to play a round. Perhaps the more significant question behind the news is the reason — The powers-that-be have embargoed access to Augusta for so long (media restrictions, long waiting lists even for a ticket, no women members yet, etc.). Why now? Club chairman Billy Payne wants to attract a younger crowd to golf, according to the AP.