Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ping, my ass.

The world's most self-important sporting event is over. The Masters, a golf tournament so self-involved that it has its own theme music and has persuaded a major television network to broadcast it with limited commercial interruptions, is finally over. If only Simon Cowell were that powerful.
As Tiger Woods strolled off the 18th green today, Jim Nantz said that "he somehow managed a 69 through all of this." The little kid in me chuckled. Sports should bring out the little kid in us all. That Nantz is a wordsmith. That's why he makes the big bucks, I'm guessing. I bet Nantz gets an e-mail from the suits at CBS and the even stauncher suits at Augusta.
It's interesting to me the way Tiger wears his sunglasses on the back of his hat, so not to obscure the Nike logo on the front of his hat. He's all about the marketing.
Meanwhile, Lee Westwood's shirt looked like a NASCAR suit. Ads on the lapels, sleeves and both sides of his chest. Can golf get any more whorish? Tiger? Anyone? Shouldn't there be a limit to the amount of advertising that someone can wear? And maybe he could work in a few miles on the treadmill, because that baby-paunch is distracting me from reading the UPS logo. I'm just saying.
Some of you were rooting for Tiger. Me? I was hoping he would have fallen off Hogan Bridge and gone into the lake. Now that's good TV!
I like golf, but it tests my tolerance of bigotry and pomp to watch wealthy club members wearing tasteless green coats rewarding other wealthy club members with prizes and congratulating them for "battling" a golf course and winning a tournament. I try to separate the game from the people in charge of the game ...
"You have to separate the authority from the people with the authority vested in them. People see a cop and yell "Gestapo!" at him. The cop says, "Gestapo? I'm the mailman!"
- Lenny Bruce
But I digress. I know that the people playing golf aren't responsible for the rules set forth by the authorities, but they adhere to them, which makes them culpable. Find a black face at Augusta, or better yet, find a woman. (Although women are allowed to be caddies.) Good luck in your search.
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.

It's nice of them to include the Girl Scouts in their defense. Do they sell cookies at the entrance of the golf course, too? Perhaps if it was called Augusta National Men's Golf Course they'd have a case. Otherwise, screw you. I'd guess that if Lorena Ochoa wanted to qualify for The Masters she'd have a problem. Old heads like the people in charge of this golf tournament fit right in with old-world Georgia politics. All white, all the time. Tiger Woods wouldn't have been qualified to be a member at Augusta National 30 years ago, but now he's a fixture. That strikes me as hypocritical.

Oh, and um ... there is a tax break too...

Current Internal Revenue Code allows business expenses to be deducted from Federal income tax that are associated with private clubs. This includes business related expenses for conventions, travel, accommodations and advertising. Dues are not deductible. Business expenses that are directly associated with promoting and doing business at these clubs, as well as fifty percent of business meals are allowable.

Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that, over the next 10 years, this legislation would be worth $52 million for the federal government in taxes paid for business functions at clubs that discriminate.

Over the past few years (since Hootie Johnson's tenure as chairman) discrimination at Augusta has been ignored. Now that Tiger Woods has distracted the media from the bigger issue, they have skirted around it for another year.
The International Olympic Committee, upon considering golf as an Olympic sport in 2016, re-examined whether the sport itself fits the goal of a "sport practiced without discrimination with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play." Golf will be an Olympic sport in 2016. I'm guessing there was money involved. [ya think?] Maybe by then the people in charge of the game will wake up?
Wear your green jacket with pride, Phil.

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