Augusta, Darla Moore & Hootie Johnson. August 23 2012
Darla Moore/bottomline.nbcnews.comHootie Johnson, the former Augusta National chairman, the same man who famously declared in 2002 that he wouldn’t admit women to the club; "At the point of a bayonet." Hootie Johnson/usatoday.com In 2003 Hootie followed that statement with another politically incorrect statement, some people actually hoped the drop dead part of the admission would come true quickly; " I do want to make one point, though. If I drop dead, right now, our position will not change on this issue."
Bobby Jones & Cliff RobertsSome pretty strong stuff, and lots of the guys in the locker room admired his unbending attitude, seems though that the old boy himself has softened in old age. I bet Cliff Roberts and Bobby Jones are spinning in their respective graves at the latest goings on at Augusta. Turns out it was Hootie Johnson who was personally responsible for nominating a woman for membership to the club, that woman was none other than Darla Moore. Here is Hootie's latest reported comments; "She has a long connection with me, I've had her as a guest at the club a number of times along with her husband. She’s a sweet lady." Lets all drink to progress, if you don't place one foot forward, you will always be standing in the same place. Remember Cliff Roberts statement; "As long as I'm alive, all the golfers will be white and all the caddies will be black." Well, Lee Elder became the first black golfer to play in the Masters Tournament in 1975, Lee said at the time; "I don't want anything special. I will make it on my own."
Lee Elder/legendsrevealed.com Lee congratulates Tiger on his Masters win/bleacherreport.comCliff Roberts died two years later in 1977, no one knows if being alive when a black golfer played in The Masters had hastened him into committing suicide, but he had been ill some months. You have to wonder what he would have made of Tiger winning in 1997, with a total of -18 under par, and aided by a white caddie, Fluff Cowan. Tiger said of Fluff, after their Masters win; " I think Fluff's the best caddie in the world, he's a great caddie and a great friend."
Michael Thomas Cowan/ caddybytes.com
Seems like even Tiger has some statements he regretted making, Fluff may not be the best caddie in the world, but you don't fire a great friend.
The last word goes to someone who is absolutely delighted with the Augusta change of heart, she is Martha Burk, the lady who started the crusade against Augusta, Martha said;
" We won, absolutely, that’s how I feel."" It’s important symbolically. In an absolute sense, two women playing golf is not important, but two women being allowed into one of the enclaves of power for, basically, Fortune 500 members is a very important symbolic statement about the place of women in society. Had we not started this 10 years ago, and kept at it and kept at it, it wouldn’t have happened now, and it might not have happened ever. We did not give up. There were several confluences that came together: IBM naming a woman as a CEO was one factor. I think we were another one. We succeeded in changing public opinion pretty well.I got a lot of death threats, I had to hire bodyguards, and I did wear a bulletproof vest. It was not fun. I believed in what I was doing. I don’t want to take personal credit. Yes, I was a spokesperson, but there were a lot of women standing behind me as well. That was very important, but I do feel personally vindicated."