Forget the topic of a woman member at Augusta National for a second. At the LPGA event in Alabama this week, American star Paula Creamer discussed the desire to have a women’s major held at the undisputed best golf course in the United States.
Most of the LPGA players have never played Augusta National in practice or informal conditions, so it would be interesting to see how they would maneuver the treacherous greens around Bobby Jones’ masterpiece.
Before I get too far, I want to make it clear that I don’t see Creamer’s dream coming to fruition anytime soon for a myriad of reasons, but it is fun to speculate on what it would be like. The course is already closed much of the year to members in order to get it in pristine condition for the Masters. There is no way they would sacrifice precious playing time to host another major championship.
Other than logistics, there are some other factors that would make Augusta a bad fit for the LPGA tour. The greens at Augusta are lightning fast and test the best on the PGA Tour. It is not secret that men hit the ball farther than women and create a lot more spin. With the lower amount of spin and lower ball flight from the average LPGA Tour pro, the greens would be almost impossible to hold. If they could find a way to slow the greens down for the event, then maybe it would be more feasible.
Clearly the women would have to play from shorter tees than the men play, which are almost 7,500 yards. Would Augusta National be willing to create a set of tees around 6,600 yards?
As far as exposure and fan interest are concerned, the event would be a home run. Augusta National is a special place and a true test of golf. Having a women’s Masters at Augusta would add a level of legitimacy and interest to a sport that is still struggling to find its foothold.
Plus, it would give golf fans another chance to see the famous piece of land in north Georgia. There are some that might argue that another event would water down the Masters, but I disagree. I think the event would be different enough to be interesting, but still hold true to what makes Augusta National so great.
All of these points are moot until Augusta addresses its female membership issue, which I believe they will do in the near future. The members at Augusta clearly like to do things their own way and on their own time. What they don’t want to do is be forced into action. I think they will address the female membership issue in the next year behind closed doors. Augusta National is like Fight Club, and what is the first rule?
The LPGA Tour has a fun crop of players right now with Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie, Azahara Munoz, Yani Tseng and Paula Creamer. Having a major at Augusta would only help them get more exposure and grow the game of golf. It may be a long shot, but who knows what the future holds.