Condoleezza Rice is wearing a green jacket. So?


Condoleezza Rice, right, former Secretary of State and new Augusta National member, laughs on the practice range with members Dave Dorman, left, and Pat Battle, center, Sunday, April 7, 2013, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. (Ron Williams/AP)
Columnist

It’s Masters week, and for the first time, Augusta National Golf Club will have a female member during the tournament. Two of them, actually.

It feels almost primitive now, but this time last year, the world was abuzz with questions over whether or not the elite golf club would finally admit its first woman as a member. After Virginia Rometty became CEO of IBM (a sponsor of the Masters), questions circled about whether she would be Augusta’s first female inductee given that IBM’s CEOs have traditionally been invited to be members. She wasn’t: The all-men’s club waited until August, months after the April tournament, and then named former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and business executive Darla Rice to have the honor instead.

Jena McGregor writes a daily column analyzing leadership in the news for the Washington Post’s On Leadership section. View Archive

Now as the annual azalea-laden tournament begins, we’re getting our first images of Condoleezza Rice in a green jacket. We’re hearing about her golf game — she’s apparently a 17 handicap who hit a 40-foot put to shoot par on 18. We’re getting commentary from the pros as she participates in a practice round (“She’s a phenomenal putter,” said Phil Mickelson, who called Rice “one of my favorite people.”)

And we’re left wondering, what was all that about?

That there was ever a debate over whether or not women should be members at Augusta feels like something from another era. Yes, it’s a private club. But seeing Rice in a green jacket looks so natural, so utterly normal, that it’s hard to see how this was ever, well, a thing. It almost seems as if the club’s delay had less to do with not wanting female members and more to do with not wanting it to appear that outside activists or the media were the ones calling the shots.

Of course, inviting two women to join a golf club is not all that progressive — it’s basically a baby step out of the dark ages. Kudos to Augusta for finally taking it; but at this point, seeing a woman in a green jacket feels a little like a non-event.

We live in a world where the person now leading the Secret Service is a woman. There is talk that a woman is the frontrunner to lead the FBI. And the most popular potential candidate for the next presidential election is a woman. When it comes to breaking barriers in the boy’s clubs, those achievements mean a lot more.

business

on-leadership

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read National

business

on-leadership

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.