In Rescheduling the Masters for November, Does Augusta National Know Something the Public Doesn’t?
April 11, 2020
An article appearing in Golf.com had an interesting premise: That the members of the Augusta National Golf Club, prestigious, elite, world-movers that they are, might know when the coronavirus pandemic will come under control – and when the public might start gathering again in crowds to attend sporting events.
Augusta announced that they plan to reschedule the annual Masters Golf Tournament to November. It is usually held in the first week of April and was canceled this year due to coronavirus. Attendance is around 50,000 during some days of the event.
“Fred Ridley, the chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, said on Monday [April 6] that the club hopes to hold the Masters in November, concluding on Sunday, Nov. 15. Thanksgiving is 11 days later…
“The news is welcome because of the source, and the message behind the message.
“The Augusta National Golf Club is an immense depository of accumulated wisdom, intelligence, inside information (of the legal kind). The club is cautious by nature. Ridley would never have made the statement he made, that the club ‘intends’ to have the Masters in November if he didn’t think it could happen.
“Consider some of his resources, just within the membership. Bill Gates. Warren Buffet. Condoleezza Rice and Rex Tillerson. Roger Goodell. Various members from Atlanta, where the Centers for Disease Control is based. Jack Nicklaus, Sam Nunn, Ginni Rometty.
“No matter what your opinion is of any of these people, think of the reach they have. Consider their deliberative nature, and the people they know. Augusta National, as an organization, is exceedingly careful and calculating. Of course, the club has made missteps over the past nearly 90 years. But it gets most things right. It would be easy to have more faith in the decision-making ability of the Augusta National Golf Club than the federal government.
“The club gets most things right…on the basis of careful consideration. By applying intelligence and money and forethought to any issue it faces. Plus, an intense review process, too.
“The club’s statement today [April 6] is the opposite of slapdash. It’s the opposite of wishful thinking. It’s not intended to boost your spirits. It’s based on what Ridley, in his wisdom, figured is a pretty good bet: that the club will be in position to host a golf tournament in mid-November. If that happens, it will only happen if the country and the world is in a much better place than it is now…
“It’s odd and interesting: among major sports, golf has been the slowest to postpone and cancel events. And now it is the first major sport to announce even the prospect of a return to action…..”
Some of the current members, of the estimated 300 members, of the Augusta National, are:
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway[
Pete Coors, former chairman and CEO of Coors Brewing Company and Molson Coors Brewing Company, current chairman of MillerCoors
Bill Gates, co-founder and chairman of Microsoft
Lou Gerstner, former IBM executive
Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League
Pat Haden, former NFL player and former athletic director at the University of Southern California
Lou Holtz, former college football coach
Hugh L. McColl Jr., former CEO of Bank of America
Darla Moore, South Carolina businesswoman
Jack Nicklaus, Hall of Fame golfer and six-time Masters champion, and the only Masters champion who is currently a regular member of the club
Sam Nunn, former United States Senator from Georgia
Sam Palmisano, former CEO of IBM
Condoleezza Rice, former United States Secretary of State
James D. Robinson III, former CEO of American Express
Ginni Rometty, chair, president, and CEO of IBM
Matt Rose, former CEO of BNSF Railway
Lynn Swann, former NFL player
Rex Tillerson, former United States Secretary of State
Henry Waite, former chairman of HUFF Productions
Like most private clubs, Augusta National is a for-profit corporation and does not disclose income, holdings, or membership. Like other golf clubs, it has a golf course, which, ostensibly is its reason for existing.
Augusta’s course opened in 1932. Since 1934, the club has played host to the annual Masters Tournament, one of four major championships in professional golf, and the only major played each year at the same course.
Augusta, as much or more than any golf club, is about its membership. There’s no application process to become a member. According to Golf.com, “If you ask, your chances of ever being considered reportedly plummet. And if you do get through initial screening stages, you’ll be exhaustively vetted before it’s determined you’re member material.”
Augusta National admitted no African American members until 1990 and no women members until 2012. The club long required all caddies be black and barred black golfers from the Masters Tournament until 1975.
There are about 100 beds available to stay on the Augusta National property. That includes 10 cabins.
The club’s season runs from October through May. Members can bring several guests at a time, but guests won’t be allowed onto the property until their member has arrived.
The golf course is consistently ranked as one of the best courses in the world. The membership costs at Augusta are extremely low considering the wealth of its members. The initiation fee is around $40,000. And yearly dues are estimated at “a few thousand” dollars per year.
Augusta National members wear a green jacket to show they are members. Each member is issued one green jacket, for which they are charged a small fee. They aren’t allowed to remove these jackets from the grounds. Instead, a member will arrive on the property to find his or her jacket freshly prepared in the locker room.
There are four members-only events: The Opening Party in October, the Governors Party in November, the Jamboree in late March and the Closing Party in May. Each are reserved for members only and reportedly draw a sizable percentage of the club’s 300 members.
Frank Report’s founder and lead writer Frank Parlato is one of the internet’s most acclaimed investigative journalists. His writing and investigations have helped expose major criminal organizations and scandals.
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