What if they had told Augusta 'no'?

August, 20, 2012
08/20/12
4:14
PM ET

Wouldn't it have been better if Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore had turned down the ol' boys at Augusta?

They could have said, "Sorry, green is not in my color palette." They could have explained to the insufferable Billy Payne and his Southern-fried membership committee, "It's bad enough that the members and the champions must wear those jackets. Not even a hunk like Arnold Palmer in his prime looked good in one of those things."

And that's only the beginning of what the women could have offered. On matters more important than green jackets, Rice and Moore could have suggested to Payne and the men of Augusta that women of distinction like themselves would have no reason even to consider genuflecting to the likes of Payne and Hootie Johnson.

"It is unclear to us," the women could say, "why anyone, especially a leader of the women's movement like Martha Burk, would consider membership at Augusta some sort of triumph."

How will Rice explain to her colleagues on the faculty at Stanford that she has now joined a club whose history of racism and misogyny puts it in a unique place in the history of American culture?

How will Moore explain to her fellow bankers and zillionaires that she is anything more than a token who was invited into the club so that the men of Augusta would be able to have a few moments of peace at home when their Augusta membership enters into their conversations with their wives and daughters?

Aside from the overwhelming corporate culture of the Augusta membership, it's all about golf. A grandiose and pretentious golf course is all Augusta will ever be. Why would women like Rice and Moore feel a need to be part of it?

They could have become historic figures if they had simply and publicly said "No."

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