The Augusta National Women’s Amateur opens the door to new dreams for a generation of women and girls.

Just the thought of The Masters tournament and Augusta National Golf Club is enough to stir up the emotions in every golfer. Millions of golfers have hit putts at their club or favorite course and imagined that it was to win at Augusta. Until today, all of those dreams were held by men. That has changed forever now because the Augusta National Golf Club has announced the formation of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship.

This bold and ambitious move by the club triggered an emotional response for me. Ten weeks ago, I became a father for the first time. Nothing has brought me more joy in my life than the arrival of my sweet daughter Winnie. Every day I dream of what her life will be like. Just as most father’s do, I imagine the many things she might be interested in. I spend hours each day watching her as she smiles at me while I wonder what she may accomplish in her life. The golfer in me hopes she may find a passion for the game that I love.

I think about how much fun it would be to teach Winnie to play. The idea that I might be able to walk some holes in my life with my daughter is fun to consider. I don’t know if she will ever like golf and I have no illusion that I should begin shaping a golf career for her. I just hope she likes golf so that we can spend some added time together

Today’s announcement in Augusta gave me a new hope though. It’s a new page in the book where I keep my golf dad dreams. In a few years when I get to put a putter in my daughters hands, I can tell her that the putt could be for a win at Augusta. A place so many men have dreamed of is now somewhere my daughter and the millions of daughters, moms, women, and girls around the world can also dream of. I think that is amazing and certainly worth celebrating.

It would be just like a man of me to steal this moment as a win for me as a golf crazed father instead of pausing to think of what it means for female golfers. I recognize that there is a stirring emotion happening today for many ladies all over the golfing globe and I’m excited for them. Next year, there will be a select number of women, the best amateurs in the world, who will indeed be putting at Augusta for a major amateur championship. I can’t even begin to fathom what that excitement must be like for the golfing girls of the world. I’m can’t wait to watch.

Fred Ridley walked on the stage of the Masters media center today for his first press conference as Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club and brought a smile to the face of golfer’s everywhere. The Chairman’s press conference has become an important moment on the golf calendar each year. To many, this may have been one of the most important to date. The Chairman’s talk is a state of the game address conducted at the golf’s most prestigious venue. The news Ridley shared this year reflects a much needed and in many ways overdue investment in women in golf.

Augusta National Golf Club has received much criticism over decades for their club policies, but in recent years the club has become a vocal and meaningful leader for spreading the joys of golf to all. When Mr. Ridley walked on stage, he added to that trend by announcing the formation of the club’s new amateur championship for women. His leadership and the vision of the club to create this new competition should be commended and supported by every golfer.

There are still more details to come on the event, but the golfing world now has another special reason to anticipate the blooms of azaleas each spring in Augusta, Georgia. Women of all ages will be working on their game from now until then for the chance to compete on one of golf’s most hallowed grounds.

I was truly moved by the news from Augusta today. The flash of happiness that I felt for my daughter is just a small dose of the responses that were brought on by Fred Ridley and the Augusta National Golf Club’s announcement. I admit that my hopes for Winnie may be selfish, but I am not ashamed of the smile that those hopes give me. It is fun to think that my daughter could someday win at Augusta.

Somewhere today there is a woman who will soon be the first champion of the new Augusta amateur event. She doesn’t know it, but when she makes her winning putt next Spring I’ll be watching with Winnie and dreaming of the possibilities.

In fact, there will be millions of young girls who will be watching and dreaming as the winning putt goes in. The woman that wins next April will be a hero. She will show the golfing world that dreams do come true and somewhere her dad will be smiling as he watches his daughter win at Augusta. What a special day that will be.

Photo by Carolyn Allen Photography