Most of the news reports I have seen on the historic decision of the Augusta National Golf Club to admit women have taken a similar tack. The men running that place do things of their own volition and on their own schedule. Remember former Chairman Hootie Johnson who became famous for his statement that Augusta would never bend at the point of a bayonet. An unfortunate reference to the Civil War and the South’s refusal more than a century and one-half before to bend at the bayonet yielded by President Lincoln?
Flash forward to yesterday’s announcement and the media reporting that followed. Please don’t think for a minute that the decision to finally admit women would have happened without the increasing untenability of Augusta National’s discriminatory position. After all, it took Augusta until 1990 to admit its first African-American member. I will grant you that Augusta resisted all notions of equality far longer than imaginable, but let’s not pretend that they would have come around without pressure from the outside world, either in 1990 or 2012. While Martha Burk doesn’t deserve all the credit, she ought to feel pretty good this morning.