You may have heard that, following the conclusion of The Masters on Sunday, Tara Sullivan, a reporter for New Jersey's Bergen Record, was mistakenly denied entry to the locker room by a female security guard. Sullivan was simply trying to do her job, which was interview third-round leader Rory McIlroy, and ask what led to his meltdown. The guard was apparently a temporary hire and, aware of the male-only policy of Georgia's Augusta National Golf Club, but unaware of the exception made for female reporters, barred Sullivan entry.
You may recall a few years back when Martha Burk and NOW staged a Masters-week demonstration outside the club protesting what they felt was a discriminatory, outdated policy. Former Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson (a dead ringer for former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott) was portrayed as the Bart Simpson who wouldn't let Lisa into the treehouse, and some wanted to burn him at the stake. The whole brouhaha fizzled out, and nothing changed.
Now, the Sullivan incident has re-ignited the debate: should women be allowed membership at the Augusta National Golf Club? Is the men-only rule an atavistic practice that should be abolished, or are these hidebound ways the last frontier? Allowing a man to enter the Miss America pageant would be silly, although a gay male high-school student was elected prom queen a couple years ago. Is it innocuous tradition, or the kind of close-mindedness that Matthew Weiner lampoons on Mad Men?
It was encouraging to see Sullivan, after tweeting her frustration, get her column written, after some male colleagues sent her quotes from McIlroy. But it came at an embarrassingly inconvenient price. Masters' officials did apologize to her for the miscommunication, but the equal-access question still lingers.