TOP News

Sports: Augusta National looks foolish after resisting diversity for so long| Opinion

Canada's Savannah Grewal eager to return to Augusta after success as a junior

  Canada's Savannah Grewal eager to return to Augusta after success as a junior Savannah Grewal will make her Augusta National Women's Amateur debut on Wednesday, but it's not the first time the lone Canadian in the field has competed at the storied golf course. The 20-year-old Grewal from Mississauga, Ont., won the Girls 14-15 Drive, Chip, and Putt competition at Augusta in 2017. Now that she's back at Augusta as the top-ranked Canadian women's amateur, Grewal is ready to complete the circle. "That was a huge deal becauseThe 20-year-old Grewal from Mississauga, Ont., won the Girls 14-15 Drive, Chip, and Putt competition at Augusta in 2017. Now that she's back at Augusta as the top-ranked Canadian women's amateur, Grewal is ready to complete the circle.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Like so many others who have defiantly stood in the way of progress, the green jackets at Augusta National have come to see just how foolish they were.

On Wednesday, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said he wished the club would have added women members earlier, and that he will “make sure” more will be admitted while he’s in charge. That’s quite an about face from 20 years ago, when then-chairman Hootie Johnson declared that Augusta National would not be forced into admitting women “at the point of a bayonet.”

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley addressed the number of female members at a news conference on April 6. © Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley addressed the number of female members at a news conference on April 6.

“We are a better club, we are a better organization, and we're very proud to have women among our membership,” Ridley said. “When anything happens, or any idea that you had turns out well and you're pleased about it, you might always say, `Well, why didn't we do that sooner?’ That's a fair thought.

MASTERS '22: Brief look at 10 (or 11) contenders at Augusta

  MASTERS '22: Brief look at 10 (or 11) contenders at Augusta AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — A capsule look at 10 (or 11) leading contenders for the 86th Masters, to be played April 7-10 at Augusta National. Listed in predicted order of finish: JUSTIN THOMAS Age: 28. Country: United States. World ranking: 7. Worldwide victories: 14. Majors: PGA Championship (2017). Best finish at the Masters: 4th. Masters moment: Being part of a five-way tie for the lead after 36 holes in November 2020. Notable: He has only five top-10 finishes in 24 majors as a pro. Backspin: While he has gone more than a year without winning, Thomas has finished in the top 10 in six of his last nine starts and has put a strong emphasis on his driving.

From NFL plays to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day.

“And so I wish, I wish we had have.”

As if that statement wasn’t earth-shaking enough, Ridley later gave a whole-hearted endorsement of the Dude Perfect comedy group and its video in Amen Corner. Praise for women and YouTubers? What’s next? A green jacket with a nose ring and hair dyed to match the azaleas?

“It was really part of our continuing effort to be relevant to different age groups,” Ridley said of the video, which featured Dude Perfect playing all-sports golf with Bryson DeChambeau.

“I think it accomplished what we wanted to,” Ridley added. “I've heard from a number of my law partners who have teenage children who said, 'This is great. My kids want to go out and play golf.’ That's sort of the idea.”

Will Tiger Woods win his sixth green jacket? Oddsmakers list golfing great as longshot at 2022 Masters

  Will Tiger Woods win his sixth green jacket? Oddsmakers list golfing great as longshot at 2022 Masters Tiger Woods' return to competitive golf at The Masters inspires bettors, but bookmakers list the five-time champion as a longshot at Augusta.Tipico Sportsbook established Woods, 46, as a 50/1 selection to win the tournament — a position behind more than 20 others.

There’s a lesson here, both for the green jackets and everyone else these days who is clinging to a romanticized view of American life in the “good ol’ days.” A time when white men held sway and women and people of color were tolerated so long as they knew their place and didn’t stray from it.

The world wasn’t really that great then, for anyone. We are better – we are all better – when we acknowledge that everyone has something to offer. When we acknowledge that no race or gender, or any other classification we use to exclude people, is superior.

When we celebrate our differences, recognizing that they enrich rather than diminish us.

The Masters values tradition, but course change is constant

  The Masters values tradition, but course change is constant AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Not even 24 hours had passed after last year's Masters ended, and the preparations for this year's tournament were underway. It started with heavy equipment — brought onto Augusta National to remove a massive tree from its former home near the 15th tee. While some traditions at Augusta National are hardly ever altered and some rules are downright absolute, the course itself has a long history of evolving with the times. And the process of changing some things for this year’s Masters, which begins Thursday, started immediately after last year’s tournament ended.

The changing world is frightening to some. It certainly was at one point to Augusta National, which was so deadset against admitting women that it aired the Masters without commercials in 2003. Johnson said it was so sponsors wouldn’t be targeted by protesters, but it was more likely so the sponsors wouldn’t pressure Johnson into doing something he didn’t want to do.

“We take our membership very seriously. It is the very fabric of our club. Our members are people who enjoy each other's company and the game of golf. Our membership alone decides our membership – not any outside group with its own agenda,” Johnson said in a July 2002 statement.

“There may well come a day when women will be invited to join our membership but that timetable will be ours and not at the point of a bayonet.”

But Ridley’s comments Wednesday show that even a club fiercely proud of appearing to be stuck in a 1950s time warp realizes it can either adapt, or become a relic.

After years of decline, the number of golfers worldwide has begun to rebound. Women and young golfers are helping fuel that growth, according to the National Golf Foundation. More notably, NGF data shows that diversity is increasing among junior golfers.

The Masters: Tee times, TV and streaming info for the first round at August National

  The Masters: Tee times, TV and streaming info for the first round at August National All the information you need to get ready for Thursday's first-round at the 86th Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. 4/19 SLIDES © Danielle Parhizkaran, USA TODAY Sports Tiger Woods tees off on No. 4 during Monday's practice round. Limited Time Offer: Get Up To 16 Meals Free And Free Shipping On Your HelloFresh Order Ad HelloFresh Slideshow continues on the next slide Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods walk to the No. 6 green during a practice round on Monday.

If Augusta National wants to continue being the Mecca of golf, certainly of American golf, it has to change with the times.

Augusta National doesn’t give details on its roughly 300 members. But it’s believed there are close to 10 Black members now as well as a handful of women, and Ridley promised the number of women, at least, will continue to rise. Given Augusta National’s love of secrecy, however, it’s not exactly clear how to keep him honest on that one.

“(The women members) have been great contributors to our organization, both I would say substantively and things they are doing to help us," Ridley said, "both with the Masters and otherwise."

Augusta National thought it was showing strength by resisting calls for inclusion. But change is inevitable. And as Augusta National has realized, it's usually for the good.

Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Augusta National looks foolish after resisting diversity for so long| Opinion

For Scheffler, a new world awaits as the Masters champion .
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Scottie Scheffler just wanted dinner. The best option, he decided, would be for him and his wife Meredith to grab some takeout and head back to their rented home so he could rest up before the final round of the Masters. Small problem. On the way home, Scheffler spilled dinner all over himself. “Meredith is still laughing at me,” Scheffler said. “She thought it was the funniest thing ever.” Whenever he returns to the Masters, for the rest of his life, there is guaranteed to be at least one night where Scheffler’s dinner won’t need transporting.

See also