As one of the world’s most popular and accomplished golfers, Paula Creamer is utilizing that status in an effort towards sporting equality. While Augusta National has allowed female members since 2012, chairman Billy Payne has not mentioned the possibility of the LPGA playing there in the near future.
Creamer has come forward with the suggestion that a women’s version of the Masters could follow the week after. While the LPGA boasts five major tournaments, including the US Women’s Open, Women’s PGA Championship, Women’s British Open, ANA Inspiration and the Evian Championship, the prestige of Augusta National could certainly lead to a Women’s Masters.
Sadly, there remains a dinosaur mentality about such a concept. Another site went as far as to state that Billy Payne pays more respect to a dead tree than a women’s tournament. Stating that a very short member season (a duration of only seven months), compounded by the time required for preparation would make it difficult to host another tournament may be perceived as a weak argument. Although Payne has definitely made contributions to the growth of the game in other parts of the world, along with the excellent Drive, Chip and Putt contest, a Women’s Masters would be the moral thing to do.
Creamer also counters Payne’s argument about prep work for the Masters by bringing up the current scenario with Pinehurst No. 2. Of note, the course has hosted the US Open, plus the US Women’s Open in consecutive weeks. Taking into account the success involved with staging consecutive majors, it can be done elsewhere. Perhaps Payne could compromise and make the Women’s Masters a bi-annual event, thus reducing any potential strain that could be caused to Augusta National by having it yearly.
As women’s sports continues to grow, the impact of Augusta would only add to the momentum of the female game. Considering that the Masters always generates high ratings, it would certainly carry over to a women’s edition. The women of the LPGA are doing just as much to generate interest in the game as their counterparts in the PGA.
This is definitely one area where top-ranked members of the PGA could speak up on the topic. For an individual like the legendary Tiger Woods, who was once discriminated against at golf clubs because of his skin color, this should definitely be a cause for him to champion. Even if some are afraid to “rock the boat”, there are enough members of the Senior PGA tour who have done enough for the game, that they can speak without reproach. If Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus supported Creamer, it would carry significant weight.
Although the LPGA could attempt to sway sponsors of the Masters, or even try to lobby the state government of Georgia, the important aspect is that Creamer has gotten the conversation started. Hopefully, it will be a conversation that builds momentum as the day that female golfers can wear the green jacket, the Masters shall truly be an event worthy of prestige.