Should women support the Masters?

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Despite the uncertainty surrounding her possible membership at Augusta National, IBM CEO Virginia Rometty was at the club Sunday watching the Masters' final round.

Should women continue to watch the Masters tournament despite the fact that Augusta National won't admit female members?

Augusta has weathered this storm before

By Amanda Rykoff

The Masters markets itself as "a tradition unlike any other." Is the tradition golf or sexism? No women are members of the notoriously exclusionary golf club, which didn't admit an African-American member until 1990. As a woman, I'm outraged at the longstanding tradition of sexism and the idea we're having this discussion in 2012. As a sports fan, I watch the Masters every year and that's not going to change, whether Augusta National admits a female member or not.

I'd love to think that if the women of the world (sports fans or otherwise) gathered their collective energies and turned off their television sets during the second weekend of April (or at least watched baseball, basketball and hockey instead of the Masters) we could make a difference. But Augusta National's tradition and history of sexism and "ol' boys clubbiness" is so well-entrenched, women sports fans would just be missing out on drama and wonderful golf without making a dent in the cause.

Augusta has weathered this storm before, most notably when Martha Burk challenged its policies in 2002, and will do so again. As long as the television networks and sponsors support the event, the Masters and Augusta National will continue, and we will watch.

Broad-spectrum equality more important than Augusta National

By Adena Andrews

Granting membership to women at Augusta National is one of the last things women need to be concerned about. There are bigger fish to fry like fighting those who are trying to deny access to birth control or tackling that annoying problem of earning a lower salary than a man for performing the same job.

Instead of using our energy to change the channel on the Masters, let's get together to increase the female makeup of Congress, which stands at a scant 16.8 percent today. Or maybe work on the amount of women employed in math and science jobs.

Once equality in broader aspects of life is achieved for women, membership to a club like Augusta National will seem important. Until then, it's just a jacket.

Men, not women, need to take a stand

By Kate Fagan

Although a female boycott of Augusta National is a good sentiment, change will only come when men discontinue their support of Augusta National and the Masters until a female member is allowed.

It doesn't feel like removing the female fan base from the tournament would have policy-changing impact. And at some point, it would be nice if the privileged, dominant group -- the men of Augusta National and the men of the elite golfing world -- took a stand in support of the less-privileged group.

Of course, all of this comes back to the main question: Should female members be allowed into Augusta National? I say, "Yes." Many people say the same thing. But just believing that change is right means nothing. Augusta National won't allow women until the men on the inside (demonstratively) show support for the move.

Women's boycott would further emphasize boys-only atmosphere

By Melissa Jacobs

If you are a feminist or simply a sensible woman who understands the discriminatory practices at Augusta National are backward and want to take a stand, by all means go read Betty Friedan or watch "Full House" reruns instead of the tournament. But if you are a sports fan, particularly a golf fan, why deprive yourself of the sport's greatest tournament just because the host club is run by misogynist, good ol' boys?

Mixing female pride and ethos with sports can be a dangerous cocktail. Should we boycott the NFL because some of its characters glorify violence while eschewing fidelity, or because it is light years away from any type of "Rooney Rule" for women?

Of course not.

The same logic applies to the Masters. Sure, I strongly believe Virginia Rometty should gain admittance to Augusta National (particularly when the old white guy kept coming out of his man cave to thank IBM and other sponsors during the telecast). But Sunday was about Bubba Watson, his remarkable round of golf and an even more remarkable off-the-course story. If I had boycotted, I would have missed it all and Augusta National would still be boys only.

Perhaps the time is now for women to take a stand

By Sarah Spain

Oh boy, this is a tough one. I actually thought about this Sunday as I was watching the final round of the Masters.

All week people had asked me for my thoughts on Augusta National's policy not to admit female members and I had been outspoken in my criticism. I blamed not only the club, but also the PGA Tour for not taking a stand and the sponsors who continued to support the tournament. And yet, come Sunday afternoon, I couldn't get myself to turn the channel as Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen battled for the green jacket. Am I part of the problem?

Well, I'm not a Nielsen viewer, so I didn't contribute to the ratings (their lowest since 2004), but I did tweet about the tournament and its thrilling finish, adding to its buzz. Perhaps it's time for more women to take a stand. Maybe the Masters needs to hear it from all female golfers and golf fans, not just a few media members and protestors. At the same time, it doesn't seem fair women would not only be denied the opportunity to be a member at Augusta National, but also would be denied the pleasure of watching one of the biggest and best tournaments of the year.

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