Golf Beat Report: All Augusta, all the time. Here's the latest: Martha Burk has launched a new website where she intends to "out" corporations that "sanction sex discrimination at Augusta National Golf Club." Specifically, she intends to list those corporations who have a high-ranking executive who is an Augusta member. On the flip side, another website has launched that collects links to sites that are protesting Martha Burk and her protest. Finally, in follow-up to the New York Times item two weeks ago (indicating that the Times had spiked two sports columns that had supported Tiger Woods because they were in conflict with the Times' op-ed stance), the Times apparently had a change of heart (albeit under great pressure), and did post the two columns. This story is too bizarre.
What else is going on? Well, once again the U.S. lost a team competition, as Phil Mickelson and David Toms double bogeyed the last whole to lose the "World Cup" to Japan. Craig Stadler and son Kevin won the father/son challenge. And Tiger had knee surgery that will likely keep him from playing the first few events of 2003.
The world of golf remains fixated on the Augusta National men-only story. The New York Times has yet another story in today’s paper about the controversy. Today’s news has to do with the first resignation of an Augusta member in protest of the club’s policy. But some are questioning the Times' almost bizarre fixation on this story. Indeed, a recent Newsweek article says that the paper’s Augusta coverage is causing significant internal turmoil: "The Masters coverage is so overheated, one staffer says, that executive editor Howell Raines is ‘in danger of losing the building.’"
On the lighter side of the Augusta controversy, SI’s Rick Reilly takes a look into the future, and reports on the aftermath of next year’s Masters: "Now that the fire is out, the riot has been quelled, the paramedics are gone, the jails are locked down and the National Guard is in control, I have to say that the 2003 Masters was an absolute Hootie. Wouldn't you?"
Other stories making golf news:
Main Story: The big story in golf continues to be the Augusta National vs. Martha Burke debacle. It seems every week something new comes out that brings the issue back to the forefront, and this week was no exception, as no less than the New York Times weighed in with an op-ed piece telling Tiger Woods (the defending champion) that he should skip next year’s Masters unless ANGC admits a woman member. But so far, Tiger’s sticking with his position that he doesn’t agree with the policy, but doesn’t think it’s right to force his opinion on others (unlike, say, the New York Times).
"It bothers me greatly to say this, but there is very little journalism breaking out in the press tent at a golf tournament.": McPaper’s Christine Brennan mounts her high horse and lambastes the media for not hounding Tiger Woods on the issue of female membership at elite private golf clubs (specifically Augusta National). The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Dan Barriero takes the opposite view: "There is also the disingenuousness of the lecturers, who do not simply demand that Tiger take a stand on numerous issues of the day. They want him to take a certain position -- their position -- on those issues." Should Tiger (or any famous athelete) be forced to take a public stand on whatever issue currently has the media's attention?