I missed this exchange earlier in the week between Jay Busbee, the Yahoo golf writer and Maggie Hendricks, Yahoo’s “Cage Fighting” writer (seriously?). The discussion was over Augusta National’s male only membership. From the discussion, both seem to be horribly confused about the relationship between the PGA, the PGA Tour and Augusta National.
Setting aside the question of why a “cage writer” is being asked to comment on golf (are there no female golf writers available to Yahoo?), here are a couple of lines from Hendricks, which Busbee doesn’t correct (was he not paying attention, or does he not know?):
The PGA values a pretty piece of land more than half of the world’s population, and that ridiculous stance is coming to bite them in the tush now that IBM has named a woman as its CEO. Virginia Rometty has earned the right to membership, like every other CEO before her, and her anatomy shouldn’t stop that.
I am on-board with private club, private rules. If they want to be stuck in 1952 likes Roger Sterling, I am not going to stop them. But then the PGA Tour should not set an event there.
So let us set this straight for Hendricks and remind Busbee to pay attention:
1. “The PGA values a pretty piece of land more than half of the world’s population”
The PGA has nothing to do with Augusta National or The Masters. That, in a way, slanders the PGA, which is an organization open to both men and women. I take lessons from a female PGA professional.
The Masters is owned by and run by Augusta National. The PGA could totally repudiate the Masters and it still would go on. The statement that the PGA “values a pretty piece of land more than half the world’s population” makes no sense in that context.
2. “But then the PGA Tour should not set an event there.”
This statement also makes no sense. The PGA Tour does not set the event there. Augusta National sets the event. The Masters predates the PGA Tour by 34 years.
Indeed, the PGA Tour once held events opposite the Masters. The Magnolia State Classic / Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic / True South Classic was held the same week as the Masters until 1994.
The PGA Tour does count the Masters as “official money.” But so does every other Tour on the planet. Not counting it would make no difference to the players whatsoever. No player of any stature will say “Wow. The PGA Tour doesn’t count the Masters as an official event. Guess I won’t go.”
Further, the PGA Tour does not run any of the Majors: The Masters is the sole property of Augusta National; the US Open belongs to the USGA; the Open Championship belongs to the R&A and; the PGA Championship belongs to the PGA of America (not the PGA Tour, as I will explain below).
Finally, PGA and PGA Tour can’t be used interchangably.
There is the PGA and the PGA Tour. The PGA represents the teaching and club pros, while the PGA Tour represents the playing pros. The two split in 1968.
Assuming Busbee knows these things, he missed a “teachable moment.”