The green jackets who run Augusta National Golf Club want more girls and women on the golf course -- just not on their sacred fairways.
In a wide-ranging interview with Forbes published on Wednesday, LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan dropped a bit of a bombshell when he said that Augusta National -- yes, that Augusta National -- was a huge supporter of the LPGA-USG Girls Golf program.
“It’s worth noting that Augusta National is an incredible supporter of some of our initiatives. They write us a six-figure check every year for Girls Golf, which helps gets girls into the sport,” Whan said. “I don’t think it’s a guilt check. Maybe it is.”
Another surprising tidbit from Whan -- who slammed Golf Magazine for sexism when the publication declined to name LPGA superstar Yani Tseng as its 2011 Golfer of the Year -- was his admission that he really did not care if the home of the Masters allowed women to join its exclusive little bastion of male supremacy. Instead, Whan, who is not a member of Augusta, said he would prefer that the club host a women’s tournament.
“At the end of the day I would have a difficult time explaining to my kids why dad was a member of all men’s club,” he said. “And I really doubt by the time my kids are my age this will even be a topic. They’ll have female members by then. It’s a private club they can do what they want.”
Whan conceded he was not above lobbying for the women in his organization to get their shot at conquering Amen Corner.
“What’s frustrating is that the best players now on our tour can’t play there,” he said. “I ask every year.”