Womens Group Challenges Augusta National Membership Policies
Our member groups are very concerned that the nations premier golf event, the Masters, is hosted by a club that discriminates against women by excluding them from membership, reads a June 12 letter to Augusta National Golf Club from Dr. Martha Burk, chair of the National Council of Womens Organizations. Burk admitted that the club has no written policy against membership for women, but noted that no woman has been asked to join since the club opened in 1932.
The letter includes a call to change membership policies now, so that this is not an issue when the tournament is staged next year.
Read the entire letter from the NCWO
Dr. Burk, reached by phone in her Washington, D.C. office, confirmed that if the club does not change its policies, the NCWO would consider bringing economic pressure.
I think we would have a conversation with some of the sponsors, Burk said.
Club members debated the issue heavily, say sources close to the matter, before responding July 9 with a two-page statement from William W. Hootie Johnson, chairman of Augusta National.
Augusta National and the Masters ' while happily entwined ' are quite different, the statement said. One is a private golf club. The other is a world-class sports event of great public interest. It is insidious to attempt to use one to alter the essence of the other. The essence of a private club is privacy.
Johnson predicted in the statement that the NCWO might begin a campaign that depicts Augusta National members as bigots, or that employs boycotts, Internet chat rooms, and a variety of other tactics.
Nonetheless, We will not be bullied, threatened or intimidated, the statement said.
Read Hootie Johnson's entire response
He gave me some ideas I hadnt thought of, Burk said after reading Johnsons statement.
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, the statement also said.
The only direct response to the NCWO was a three-paragraph July 8 letter from Johnson to Burk in which Johnson found [Burks] letters several references to discrimination, allusions to sponsors and your setting of deadlines to be both offensive and coercive.
The letter closed the issue from the clubs point of view, calling further communication unproductive.
The NCWO took up the membership question after Burk read a column about the issue by Christine Brennan in USA Today, Burk said.
Current sponsors of the Masters include Citigroup, a financial services company, Coca-Cola, and IBM. Cadillac, once regular sponsor, is now the official car of the Masters; that is the only such product relationship the tournament has. CBS has been the broadcast partner of the Masters since 1956.
The National Council of Womens Organizations is an umbrella group of 160 separate groups that focus on issues relating to womens rights. Its members include the National Organization for Women and the Womens Sports Foundation.
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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings
Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.
Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.
As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.
"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."
Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.
Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.
Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.
But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.
Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.
Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:
Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180
Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70
Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5
Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450
Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200
Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.
Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.
“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.
“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”
Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.
“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.
Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.
Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim.
Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.