Paula’s LPGA Masters

Would Be Fun, Good For Tour

This seems like the perfect time for everyone who cares to throw in their two cents about the theoretical Masters tournament for the LPGA, to be held on the same course as the men play, probably one week later, as envisioned by Paula Creamer. My two cents is that’s it’s a great idea, one that should be a lot of fun to follow, and a fun course for the women to play.

The obstacle to such a plan is not based on age, and it’s not generational. There have been, since the beginning of time, a group of “It’s not done” folks and a corresponding assembly of “Why nots?” These are the subgenres of the more emphatic “Not going to happens” and their opponents, the “Wanna bets?” Paula Creamer is a member of those being shut out, and Billy Payne, Augusta’s hand on the helm, is being charged with guarding the castle, which includes the prevention of a major women’s tournament on his sacred lawn. Augusta and the Masters tournament are for boys – got it?

It wouldn’t be accurate or fair to generalize about Billy Payne, despite the fact that the tradition he maintains has little historic worth to speak about. The Masters tournament is much more worthy of its annual demonstrations of great golf than it is the merits of the mythical culture upon which it is built. And yet, where Augusta over the last eighty years has resisted the dawn of the 15th century, Payne has brought it into the 19th, and has even let it take a peek at the 20th before drawing the curtains. Augusta has skillfully managed the question of admitting women by embracing two globally high powered figures who probably don’t have the time or much inclination to play golf. too often. A Masters for women, however, would turn the place over to the riff-raff of hard-working golfers, blueblood and otherwise. My word, they’d be running all over the place, smiling, laughing, and in general acting too modern and informal for the expected demeanor.

payne 2Creamer has overcome the objection that the course couldn’t take a second Masters. It’s been done successfully at other major courses. For Payne, however, that may be beside the point. His job is to preserve the established and revered atmosphere of Augusta, not to kick the can of enlightenment and social advancement down the street. His obligation is to the institution, not humanity. Creamer’s position is the same. She sees a natural opportunity for her tour to achieve a new state of profile, and to be seen as a peer entity to the PGA. The television coverage alone would be pure gold, and a powerful symbol for young female golfers would be created. Imagine, a woman donning a green jacket, and next year, helping another to don one. Perhaps, though, it would be something else, not just a copy of the men’s tradition.

To my knowledge, the great women golfers have not played Augusta. If it were me, that would eat me alive. I can understand why someone who plays like I do wouldn’t get the invitation, but if I’m Mickey Wright to…well, Paula Creamer, it doesn’t look right anymore, like tree houses in 40s movies with “No Girls Allowed” signs painted on the front. Still, if a Ladies Masters is going to come about at a snail’s pace, the LPGA would well-advised to find an equally sacred patch of golfing ground that can be awe-inspiring from the get-go, and tee it up. It’s faster than assailing the Knights Templar, and wearing away the entrenched resistance.payne 1

Support is beginning to snowball for Paula’s cause, and a Masters might happen, despite Payne’s refusals. It might even happen if Augusta is in any way cast as second fiddle. I know “it’s not done,” but “why not?”


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