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Hootie: No woman member by Masters
ESPN/AP ^ | Nov. 11, 2002 | AP

Posted on 11/11/2002 3:39:20 PM PST by jern

Monday, November 11, 2002
Defiant Johnson says Masters will go on no matter what



AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Defiant as ever, Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson declared that The Masters will be played next year, no matter what, and there is no chance a woman will be a member of the golf club by then.

SportsNation
Should Augusta National have to admit a female member?
Yes
No

''We will prevail because we're right,'' the 71-year-old Johnson said.

His comments were the first on the subject since he fueled the debate over the all-male membership at Augusta National by criticizing Martha Burk and the National Council of Women's Organizations for trying to coerce change.

The club has never had a female member in its 69-year history, and Johnson didn't sound as if he was in any hurry to change that.

''We have no timetable on the woman member,'' he said in a Nov. 4 interview with The Associated Press. ''Our club has enjoyed a camaraderie and a closeness that's served us well for so long, that it makes it difficult for us to consider change.

Q&A with Hootie ...
Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson sat down with the Associated Press to talk about the debate surrounding his club's all-male membership. Check out the entire interview here.

''A woman may be a member of this club one day, but that is out in the future.''

A green jacket was draped over Johnson's broad shoulders during the hour-long interview in his office, whose walls bear a photo of him and former chairman Clifford Roberts and an original portrait of Bobby Jones painted by President Eisenhower.

The hint of a smile played above his square jaw as he spoke. He hardly resembled someone who felt threatened, even at ''the point of a bayonet.''

That's the phrase he used on July 9 in a terse, three-page statement in response to Burk's letter urging the club to admit women -- a phrase that has become a slogan of his resolve.

Johnson said Augusta National might some day admit a woman, but he wouldn't be forced into it.

He was equally adamant on this day, offering the kind of assurances usually reserved for death, taxes and whether Tiger Woods has the game to contend for a fourth Masters title.

''There will always be a Masters,'' Johnson said.

“ This woman portrays us as being discriminatory and being bigots. And we're not. We're a private club. And private organizations are good. The Boy Scouts. The Girl Scouts. Junior League. Sororities. Fraternities. Are these immoral? ”
— Hootie Johnson

He was unyielding in his stance that Augusta National would not cave in to the demands of Burk or anyone else who dares to challenge the constitutional rights of a private club to associate with whomever it wants.

''This woman portrays us as being discriminatory and being bigots. And we're not,'' Johnson said. ''We're a private club. And private organizations are good. The Boy Scouts. The Girl Scouts. Junior League. Sororities. Fraternities. Are these immoral?

''See, we are in good company as a single-gender organization.''

He sees no connection between racial and gender discrimination.

''Do you know of any constitutional lawyer that's ever said they were the same? Do you know any civil rights activists that said it was the same? It's not relevant,'' he said. ''Nobody accepts them as being the same.''

Augusta National opened in 1933, the vision of Roberts, a Wall Street investment banker, and Bobby Jones, the greatest amateur ever.

Who is Hootie?
Name: William ''Hootie'' Johnson

Age: 71

Residence: Columbia, S.C.

Family: Wife (Pierrine), four daughters

Position: Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club

Business: Retired as chairman of the executive committee for Bank of America.

Masters history: Attended his first Masters as a 4-year-old in 1935, the year Gene Sarazen won with his famous double-eagle on the 15th hole. Invited to join the club in 1968. Became vice president in 1975. Elected the fifth chairman in 1998.

Changes: Revamped Masters qualifications, eliminating PGA Tour victory category to get a stronger field. Eliminated lifetime exemption policy for past champions. Ordered changes to 13 of 18 holes.

Notable: Helped to integrate higher education in South Carolina in 1968.

Quotable: ''There may well come a day when women will be invited to join our membership, but that timetable will be ours, and not at the point of a bayonet.''

Check out a complete profile of Johnson here.

The Masters was created in 1934 and has evolved into the most famous of golf's four major championships, the only one played on the same course.

Johnson, a retired banker, was 4 when he attended his first Masters in 1935. He was invited to join Augusta National in 1968, and was elected chairman 30 years later.

He is said to have worked behind the scenes to get the first black admitted to the club in 1990, shortly after the all-white membership controversy at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

Augusta National allows women to play its golf course without restrictions. Women played more than 1,000 rounds last year, and Johnson invited the University of South Carolina women's golf team as his guest.

So, what's wrong with having one as a member?

''We just don't choose to do that at this time,'' he said.

Johnson said Burk's letter hasn't had any effect on the club's decision to invite a woman to join.

Still, the chairman clearly is annoyed by Burk's campaign. He never mentioned her by name, three times referring to her only as ''this woman'' or ''that woman.''

Asked if he had any regrets about his response to Burk -- three sentences vs. three pages to the media -- Johnson smiled: ''I seldom have any regrets. I don't look back much.''

Then he turned serious and added: ''I regret that she threatened us. And I regret that she threatened our sponsors.''

Johnson dismissed the only TV sponsors of The Masters -- Citigroup, Coca-Cola and IBM -- after Burk challenged them to live up to their own policies against sex discrimination.

That will make next year's Masters, which already gets the highest ratings among golf tournaments, the first commercial-free sporting event on network TV.

Can The Masters survive financially without sponsors for more than one year?

''We could go indefinitely,'' Johnson said. ''But I don't think we'll have to. We'll have our sponsors back. I just believe that we're right on this issue, and that they'll be comfortable in sponsoring The Masters Tournament.''

If some view this controversy as having the potential to mar the crown jewel of golf, Johnson certainly doesn't.

''The majority of Americans are with us on this issue,'' he said, leaning back in his leather chair. ''I want you to know that.''

How can he be so sure?

''I just know it,'' Johnson said. ''I know it by the response I get here.''

He reached for a letter and newspaper clipping on the coffee table, a poll from the Lancaster (Pa.) Intelligencer Journal, that asked readers to call in their vote on whether Augusta should admit women. Of 624 callers, 90 percent said no.

On his desk were four files, each one bulging with letters he said supported Augusta National and its rights as a private club.

Johnson said he has read and responded to each one.

''I don't think we've been damaged,'' he said.

The only time Johnson's voice was tinged with agitation was when he wondered why his club should be penalized ''for presenting something that's good for the game of golf?''

''Something that 150 million watch around the world? Something that's a harbinger of spring? Something that is respected worldwide? We're going to be penalized for that?''

Burk has challenged several high-profile members of Augusta National to own up to their public stand against discrimination.

Lloyd Ward, CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee and one of only a half-dozen black members at Augusta, said he would work for change from inside the club. American Express chairman Kenneth Chenault, another black member, also said he believed there should be female members.

That violates a cardinal rule at Augusta. The club traditionally speaks with one voice -- Johnson's.

''I'm not going to talk about members,'' he said, cutting off a question about comments from executives like Ward and Chenault. ''We'll handle that internally.''

Johnson did not appear to be concerned, nor did he think the debate would steal headlines from Woods going after a record third straight Masters title.

Meantime, Augusta National carries on behind the tall gates that seclude Magnolia Lane and its stately clubhouse from the rest of the world.

Several members played in a cool drizzle on this day, some of them taking along caddies dressed in the club's traditional white coveralls.

Among the items for sale in the Augusta National pro shop was a navy blue cap with ''2003 Masters'' stitched in white. Merchandise with a message.

Apply Online Today! (Ad Served by Bluestreak)

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TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Georgia
KEYWORDS: augustanational; hootiejohnson; marthaburke; masters
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To: Man of the Right
You couldn't be more wrong man. For one thing, many members of Augusta are Billionaires. That's Billionaires with a B. The rest are merely worth tens of millions. They don't need sponsorship money. They will gladly air the tournament without sponsorship. Hootie already conceded this point. He doesn't want his traditional sponsors to have to feel the heat (however unjustified) on this issue. They'll never buckle. How can you call yourself a conservative with a straight face? What don't you understand about the definition of "private"?
51 posted on 11/12/2002 11:21:19 AM PST by strider44
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To: strider44
We're going to disagree on this one. Private property is not an absolute right: I can't possess proscribed drugs.

The Augusta National is a national public institution. It's the home of the Masters. The annual telecast is the most-watched golf tournament. Tens of thousands attend the tournament. It's not the Boy Scouts. And it's not a little 'ole hunting lodge in south Alabama that four guys from work buy to hunt pheasant and drink Jack Daniels.

Excluding women is morally wrong. I'll leave it to the lawyers to argue whether it's legally wrong. And it's dumb. If the clown Hootie insists on defending his point, he's going to destroy one of the most admired institutions in America. (What serious individual allows himself to be called "Hootie" and look like he does?) The club was founded by Bobby Jones at a time when Georgia and the South were a totally different place than today. I'm old enough to remember the South before and after. It's a far better place today. Institutions survive because they adapt to change while retaining their traditions. You can't make a case women can't play golf or be let into the clubhouse without peeing on the carpet. They're adults. And while you're at it, they control 55% of the nation's wealth. So there's no case to be made for their exclusion. I also think the Masters would be a better place if there were more than one Black and one Jewish member each. Tiger Woods can't be a member, but Hootie can. Defend that one.

I'm a year 2002 conservative, not Theodore Bilbo circa-1913.






In the '50s this would have been a hotly debated issue. In 2002 it's adapting to the world as it is.






52 posted on 11/12/2002 11:53:27 AM PST by Man of the Right
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To: Man of the Right
Why can't Tiger Woods be a member? Explain that statement. There's also more than one black member. So I guess you support the Title IX policy that caused the death of many NCAA Division 1 mens wrestling programs. Fine. Why don't people understand that YOU CAN'T LEGISLATE MORALITY!!! This is not the government's business. I beg to differ with your conclusion that people will vote with there check books. Every avid golfer (probably 80% male) will still watch the Masters. They could give two craps about Augusta's policies. IT'S GOLF - NOT THE RIGHT TO VOTE!!! This is a private organization,it receives zero government funding. Are you also going to say that the Boy Scouts aren't a national public institution?! If women do in fact control 55% of the wealth in this country, then there should be plenty of rich women golfers out there that can pool their respective fortunes and start their own club. They can even throw their own tournament. But here's some harsh reality for you - nobody will watch. Why?Because men are better golfers, period. People want to watch Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia and others of their ilk because they crush their drives 300 yards. That's cool to watch. Women can't do that. They can't hit an impossible 220-yard hooking 5-iron over water to land on a par 5 in 2. Golf will always be dominated by men.
53 posted on 11/12/2002 12:15:40 PM PST by strider44
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To: strider44
Ultimately, the sanctity of private property depends on community protection. As a practical matter, Hootie isn't going to defend the all-male membership policy of the Augusta based on his military prowess. If fewer than 20 Southern White Protestant males of English descent wanted to found a club to play golf, associate only with clones, joke about the people they had blackballed and what inferior scum individuals of all other regions, races, religions, sexes, and ethnic groups were, they're not going to be disturbed as a legal or practical matter. Unfortunately for Hootie and the board of the Augusta National, their club lost its virginity. They got big, they became famous, they began televising their tournament, which gets big ratings and they rake in millions. The course is beautiful, if you think every weed on the planet should be exterminated. Personally, I prefer St. Andrews. Yeah, the club is private property in the same sense Stanford, General Electric, and the New York Public Library are private property. They're private property, but public institutions. It matters to society whether a woman can attend Stanford, be employed professionally at GE or check out a book at the NYPL because women bear and rear children
for only a brief period of their lives and many don't bear children at all. Women can and do wish to play adult roles that have nothing to do with gender. Therefore, excluding them is unfair. Excluding them from the Augusta is unfair and probably illegal. I can't believe you argued against female membership based on ability to play. You and I might argue that all male players on the PGA tour as a class would beat all female players in match play more than 50% of the time over an extended period of time. But we'll never know, because they don't compete. In the end it doesn't matter because we don't compete by gender in this society, we compete as individuals or in teams. But it would be a real, real stretch to say there aren't female golfers who couldn't humiliate Hootie, you and I on a golf course consistently unless you are playing Tiger and beating him on occasion. Hootie doesn't look like he could replace a tee without suffering a myocardial infarction. So if golfing ability is the criterion for membership, Suzy Whaley goes in and Hootie hands out golf balls. If it's wealth, the Walton sisters go in and Hootie parks cars. If it's social position, Liz Windsor goes in and Hootie starts using deodorant. And if it's power, Nancy Pelosi has more than Hootie, hateful as that thought is.

The Augusta National is 70 years old. In 1932 women and Jews didn't enter gentlemen's clubs. And blacks were more likely to be lynched than play golf. It's not 1932. A smart board would change quietly with the times. The lack of women or blacks or Jews wouldn't be an issue because Carly Fiorina and Ken Chenault and Sandy Weill would be out there on the course. But Hootie isn't that bright. With age, blood vessels become constricted. Less oxygen flows to the brain. In general people become less willing to change. They resist. And they're run over. Hitler is going to resist until the inevitable victory. And George Wallace is going to stand in the school house door. Wrong.























The policies they choose matter. The governance




54 posted on 11/12/2002 1:27:10 PM PST by Man of the Right
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To: Man of the Right
I expect the same level of righteous indignation over Curves For Women. Which, according to their web site, "is the world's largest fitness center franchise". No men! Their like Hitler, Stalin, George Wallace!
55 posted on 11/12/2002 1:50:17 PM PST by Lost Highway
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To: Lost Highway
Their=They're
56 posted on 11/12/2002 1:51:01 PM PST by Lost Highway
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To: Man of the Right
Excluding them from the Augusta is unfair and probably illegal.

I would expect that Ms. Burk would have filed the lawsuit long ago were that the case.

So if golfing ability is the criterion for membership, Suzy Whaley goes in and Hootie hands out golf balls. If it's wealth, the Walton sisters go in and Hootie parks cars. If it's social position, Liz Windsor goes in and Hootie starts using deodorant. And if it's power, Nancy Pelosi has more than Hootie, hateful as that thought is.

Sorry, but you neither get to choose the criteria nor get to judge who is the more qualified.

57 posted on 11/12/2002 1:55:05 PM PST by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: PBRSTREETGANG
You are a hoot. You are a Masters member and I'm not.

Care to make a bet?

I say the Augusta National will admit a female member before the end of 2003.

Or if it doesn't, the Augusta National is going to be in federal court by mid-2004 and before the 2004 elections a federal judge will be setting membership policy effectively, not the board.













58 posted on 11/12/2002 2:04:53 PM PST by Man of the Right
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To: Man of the Right
You are a hoot. You are a Masters member and I'm not.

Nope, I'm not either. Isn't that unfair?

Care to make a bet? I say the Augusta National will admit a female member before the end of 2003.

Nah, I won't take the bet. The members may well decide that that course of action is in their best interest.

Or if it doesn't, the Augusta National is going to be in federal court by mid-2004 and before the 2004 elections a federal judge will be setting membership policy effectively, not the board.

That would be yet another unfortunate step taken by our overreaching government and overly activist judiciary. Women ar not prohibited from playing at Augusta nor are they prohibited from competing in the Masters tournament.

59 posted on 11/12/2002 2:24:58 PM PST by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: Man of the Right
They will never prove keeping out women is illegal. My point about golf prowess goes to who wants to watch the tournament. In the end, that will win out. The Masters is a collection of the finest golfers in the world. Who is the biggest audience for this tournament? I would argue that it's men. Men, in general, could care less about the membership policy at Augusta. I guess you're an exception. I haven't met a single person who's in favor of these pressure tactics to admit women. They'll put the tournament on TV without sponsors, because as I said in previous posts, these guys at Augusta are Billionaires. They can afford it. Why does it matter how big your particular private club gets? The members at Augusta aren't asking for anything. They get no governments handouts. It isn't West Point - to borrow your words - founded by white protestant males of English descent. They can't discriminate against women there because it's government funded. That was a wrong that has been fixed. But this is a private club for golfers. This isn't war. This isn't critical to the national interest. Never mind the point of why someone would want to be a member of a club in which the members don't want you.
Your examples of Stanford, and the NYPL are bogus. Again, both receive public funds. They can't bar anyone. Stanford could up and decide they only want men as long as they forgo any public money and are willing to accept the consequences. Augusta is willing to accept the consequences. If PGA players buckle to the public pressure of a small interest group, and don't play the tournament, that's unfortunate. They'll regret it in my opinion. With that all being said, this is America, and I respect your opinion. All except invoking Hitler's name to somehow prove your point. Give me a break.
60 posted on 11/12/2002 7:12:44 PM PST by strider44
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To: Man of the Right
Freedom of association is the 'law'. If women, as you say, control 55% of the capital in the US why do they not build their own Augusta National? Why?

This is simply another in a long list of attacks on men by a rabid fringe element. You are really offended by men with the BALLS(and ca$h) to do what you cannot, stand on princable!...*smile

You may think you are a 'man of the right', I don't.

61 posted on 11/12/2002 7:48:30 PM PST by glasseye
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To: buffyt
The analogy is apparently lost on you.

Boy Scouts=private organization
Augusta National=private organization

SCOTUS ruled that, since the Boy Scouts are a private orgainization, they had a right to set their own admittance policies. The same applies for Augusta.

62 posted on 11/14/2002 5:52:31 PM PST by nonliberal
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