I really enjoyed Guy Nicholson’s op-ed in the Globe and Mail discussing the issue of women and Augusta National. I think he’s bang on in his discussion on the subject. All too often I get responses — as I did to my Sympatico column on the subject — that Augusta is a private club and can do what it wants. That’s true to a point. But how many private clubs host major championships? Not many. And other than Muirfield in Scotland, I can’t think of another private club that hosts a tournament that openly discriminates on the basis of gender. That’s why the National Golf Club of Canada, as Nicholson rightfully points out, will never host a Canadian Open. I also doubt RBC would agree to play the tournament if it were held at a course that wouldn’t allow both genders to be members.
Anyway, this is Nicholson’s point, which is basically the same as mine — it is time for the PGA Tour and its players to step up and say this is wrong:
A public battle over this issue is the nuclear option, and extremely unlikely. The players love playing at Augusta National. Even if they were persuaded to hold out, the club would be forced to choose between its membership policy or the prestige of its tournament, and it has proven its determination before – potential outcomes might be an ugly attempt to split the players, a phony major played without touring pros, even outright cancellation of the tournament. It would be a dirty stain on both professional golf and Augusta National’s private cathedral.
The only thing I’d add is that touring pros are decidedly conservative. Perhaps many of them actually agree with Augusta’s perspective, which would be troublesome, but not surprising.