The sports world was dominated by ITB last week. NC State’s Staats Battle, a Broughton graduate, won ESPN’s “Most ITB Name in the NCAA Tournament“. Outsiders have referred to this contest as the “Coolest Name in the NCAA Tournament”, but we all know why he really won.
Webb Simpson, Broughton graduate, and the greatest golfer from ITB, played for the first time in The Masters this weekend. I would’ve made the trip to Augusta to support Webb and ITB this year, but I’m still serving time on my 15 year ban. Webb finished 44th overall, which is better than any of you will ever do. There were zero players from Leesville (do they even have a golf team anymore?), Millbrook, Garner, and the other OTB schools in the area. Bubba Watson ended up winning the tournament in an epic playoff, earning him at least five year’s worth of honorary ITB status (membership at the Club, a lifetime Caps pass, an unlimited bar tab at Five Points, and most importantly a reserved parking space in Cameron Village).
The Masters is one of the most ITB sporting events in existence. Augusta National Golf Club, which hosts The Masters, does not allow women to be members, won’t allow people to buy their way in, and doesn’t care who they “offend” as they continue to be elite badasses every year. They also serve the best pimento cheese sandwiches I’ve ever had. Just like ITB, when something is so perfect and amazing there’s always going to be someone complaining or protesting something.
Back in 2003, Martha Burk, the chair of some women’s protesting group or something, demanded that Augusta end their all-male membership. She threatened to boycott the companies whose executives were members of the club. Hootie Johnson, Chairman of Augusta National at the time, responded by cutting all sponsorships and airing The Masters on television with zero commercials for the next two years.
Our membership is single gender, just as many other organizations and clubs all across America. These would include junior Leagues, sororities, fraternities, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and countless others. And we all have a moral and legal right to organize our clubs the way we wish. – Hootie “I don’t give a shit” Johnson
Translation: “We can do whatever we want. ”
The gender issue was raised again last week when IBM CEO Virginia Rometty wasn’t allowed to be a member, even though IBM is a sponsor and their CEOs have been given membership in the past. Current Augusta National Chairman, Billy Payne, gave the following statement:
Well, as has been the case, whenever that question is asked, all issues of membership are now and have historically been subject to the private deliberation of members. That statement remains accurate; it remains my statement. – Billy Payne
Translation: “No means no. Deal with it.”
Fortunately, I’m now old enough to understand that this just means women can’t be members at Augusta National. They are more than welcome to attend the event, just as Rometty ended up doing, if they’re wealthy enough to get tickets to the Masters. I didn’t always understand this concept, which is why I got banned for 15 years. Dad cut me off from our Masters tickets just because when I was 12 years old I purposely left my sister behind at a rest stop on our way to Augusta because I thought we wouldn’t be allowed in if we had a girl with us. I know, 15 years sounds extreme, but that included punishment for not telling him which rest stop we left her at. He also called a friend of his, who’s a member, and told them not to let me in until 2014. Since I couldn’t be there in person, this was the perfect time to show off the ITB golf logo, which was so popular it’s now been put on merchandise available to ITB residents only. There is absolutely no connection between this logo and anything that may have gone on this weekend or that is mentioned in this same blog post. This is simply worn to support those from ITB who venture on to do great things in golf.