Augusta can regulate its members

The Masters Golf tournament is one of the most popular and historic golf tournaments in the nation. The tournament is held every year at the Augusta National Golf Club.

Ninety-six players have been invited to play at the tournament. Fifty-seven players are from the United States. The other 39 players are international. These players may be very different, but they all have two things in common: they play golf and they’re men. Augusta is a private club that only allows men to be members.

Women can’t join the club and they can’t play in The Masters. Is this fair? Well, Martha Burk doesn’t think so. Burk, who is the head of the National Council of Women’s Organization, wrote a letter to the chairman of Augusta, William Johnson. She said that he should “open [his] membership to women now, so that this is not an issue when the tournament is staged next year.” Johnson doesn’t think so.

He even went so far as to relinquish sponsorship of the 2003 Masters sponsors, Coca-Cola, Citigroup and IBM, than to subject them to pressure from women’s groups.

Johnson not allowing women to be members at his club is sexist. Don’t think so? Well, what if a club didn’t allow minorities? That would be racist, right? Not allowing women is sexist. It is pretty sad that in the twenty-first century we still have problems like this. One would think that women and men would be considered equal and would be able to enjoy the same things, such as being members of such a prestigious club.

Burk says that people should care about this controversy. “It reminds women of the glass ceiling and unequal pay and all the reasons women are running second in America,” she said. It is not a positive thing that Augusta is a men’s only club. But Augusta is a private club. Private means that it can decide who gets in.

“Augusta National is a private organization and has every right to make its own determination about members,” said Christine Stolba, senior fellow for the conservative Independent Women’s Forum. She feels women have more important things to worry about. Others feel that women’s golf needs to be improved at the lower levels first before women can think about competing at The Masters.

Bottom line: William Johnson and those who run Augusta National Golf Club are sexist. It isn’t fair that they don’t include women. But they are a private club and have the right to exclude over 50 percent of the population if they choose. But we wish they wouldn’t.