Congratulations to Condoleezza Rice for recently gaining membership into the most beautiful, exclusive golf club in the universe.
I'm talking about Cypress Point, of course.
Oh, yes, Rice got into Augusta National Golf Club, too, making headlines and history this week alongside financier Darla Moore as the first women to be admitted into the cranky confederation that runs the Masters.
Big news. Breaking barriers. End of a Neanderthal policy. Decades overdue. Two women will be allowed to wear green jackets on the grounds and order peach cobblers and maybe even get a locker.
All of that is important and has been reported that way.
But Rice, who teaches at Stanford business school after years as the provost and then as secretary of state, surely understands that the Augusta nod is mostly about public relations and not much about history.
Or about golf.
The Augusta National Old Boys Club needed Rice more than she needed them, and I presume she knew that going into this. (Hope you got a discount on those monthly dues, Condi!)
They needed Moore, too, and they probably need more carefully selected women over the next few years to give themselves full cover from the harshest criticism.
But they really needed Rice, who reportedly joined Cypress Point earlier this year and yet has never once invited me to play.
Let's just put it bluntly: The Augusta Nationalists didn't relent and admit female members
If those things were in their hearts and minds, they wouldn't have waited this long to admit the first women and it wouldn't have taken until 1990 for Augusta National to admit its first black member.
The Augusta lords did it to get people off their backs almost a decade after Martha Burk led her famous campaign. They did it because the protest might have fizzled, but the questions kept coming at chairman Billy Payne.
I have covered the Masters; I have been around the green jackets; I can tell you that they don't care about progress. Actually, they detest progress.
The tournament is charming because it is run as if time stopped in 1960, and it is partly detestable for the same reason.
But they do care about their majestic golf course and their grand tournament. And, though they say they don't, they care desperately about their imperial standing in the sports and corporate worlds.
The Augusta National members don't care about being admired; they want to be feted -- as CBS does for them every year, every hour and every minute of its whispering, trembling Masters coverage.
The rest of the world is not as weak as CBS, however; women run corporations, women are in presidential cabinets, women drive a large portion of the sports market. That's real progress.
And the pressures of that kind of progress eventually are felt even on Magnolia Lane.
I'm not saying this was an immediate crisis for the men who run the Masters. They had fought off the prospect of female membership for years; they could have probably fought it off for a few more.
But things were building. The issue wasn't going away. And Condi Rice was there -- sports savvy, a diplomat who helped a Republican president wage wars, friends with Tiger Woods.
If they didn't admit Rice, what woman would they ever allow inside? Nobody. That's why they needed her.
And, yes, even if it happened at the end of a PR bayonet, it is a step forward.
As a private club, Augusta National members have the right to be elitist. Heaven knows Cypress Point is elitist.
But Augusta National is not just a private club; it holds the biggest event in golf every year.
The Masters and Augusta National are symbols, and the members love that they're symbols. They have every right to love it.
But that means it also must be held up to standards beyond elitism, sexism and pure arrogance.
And now they have let in Rice and Moore. The plainest thing we know is that finally two women have been given the opportunity to look down their noses at the rest of us.
That's progress I can accept.