Burk Targeting CEOs in Augusta Golf Club

By Associated PressApril 22, 2003, 4:00 pm
The last time anybody blew a lead this big was the '69 Cubs.
Instead of being demoralized, Martha Burk is juiced.
No pity parties, none of this 'wait-'til-next-season' stuff for her. The National Council of Women's Organizations boss, whose name rhymes with work, can't wait to get back at it, especially now that she's facing somebody her own size.
'We are moving to a full-fledged corporate campaign,' Burk said over the weekend, repeating a vow to make life miserable for any CEO who still belongs to Augusta National Golf Club.
Though she's been making the same threat every day for the nearly eight months, she told the Chicago Sun-Times it's important now to be precise.

'We don't use the word 'boycott,'' she said.
Apparently legal terms make her jumpy.
'We use 'consumer information,'' she said. 'We use 'purchasing decisions.''
Some people would use 'shakedown' or 'coercion,' but whatever.
Burk, unavailable for comment Sunday night, is calling on anybody who cares deeply about Augusta's male-only membership roll not to buy goods or services from corporations whose CEOs won't resign.
Based on the 40 protesters she cobbled together at the Masters, and the price of a 2-liter bottle (79 cents on sale this weekend), those 'purchasing decisions' might already have cost Coca-Cola upward of $8 a day - even more if they swear off snacks, too.
And she's just getting started.
'My goal is to make it completely unacceptable to practice sex discrimination,' Burk said.
Who knew? Despite considerable public sympathy and sometimes-fawning media attention, she's managed the opposite. Burk made such a mess out of campaigning to get a woman admitted to Augusta that it's become easier, not harder, to sidestep discussions of the real damage sex discrimination causes.
Last week, instead of moping over her bad reviews, Burk jumped squarely into the middle of a labor dispute between the WNBA and its players association. She was soon joined by National Organization of Women president Kim Gandy, who warned golf wasn't the only game where 'consumer information' and 'purchasing decisions' might come into play.
Women 'recognize and reward good corporate citizenship, and the reverse,' Gandy said. 'The members are going to be watching.'
It would break Gandy's heart if she knew how few people actually watch the WNBA, but that's another column. As it is, the league folded two franchises after last season, moved two others and expects to lose some $12 million this season - despite reaching a tentative deal with its players last weekend.
'I have an idea if this was a new startup men's league, we wouldn't be talking about them making a profit (yet),' Burk said.
There was that one-season-and-done, $100-million startup men's league called the XFL, but who's counting? More to the point is what that quote demonstrates about Burk: She rarely does her homework.
She might be good at twisting arms in Washington, D.C., over welfare reform and Social Security benefits for women. Away from Capitol Hill, though, it's another story.
Last July, she wrote Augusta chairman Hootie Johnson with vague threats of what could happen if a woman wasn't invited to join the club before the Masters. Johnson, who is a good deal more progressive and a lot smarter than his first response let on, lost it - momentarily. His worst line was that the club would not be forced to admit women 'at the point of a bayonet.'
Burk woke up the next morning on third base and believed she had just tripled. Rather than tackle the issues women identify over and over as barriers to their participation in golf - a lack of time and teaching opportunities, more affordable playing and learning centers - she chose the easy target.
Somehow, she managed to miss even that. Burk lost respect from much of her audience when she said the Masters didn't have to be played at Augusta National, then lost touch with the rest by trying to link women fighting in Iraq with women being admitted to Augusta National. Then came the disastrous puppet show-protest.
'Every time I see one of those corporations' names mentioned in an article,' she said, 'it's a victory for me.'
If so, Johnson still holds a big lead. He proved that just before the tournament began. After his remarks in July, he resurfaced with a kinder, gentler version of Augusta National that made the club sound no more exclusionary than the Girl Scouts. But on that day, he was talking tough again.
'If I drop dead, right now, our position will not change in this issue,' he said. 'It's not my issue alone. And I promise you what I'm saying is, if I drop dead this second, our position will not change.'
What he didn't say was that the club had earlier offered any member who opposed that position a chance to quit. Not one did.
Maybe that's why Johnson is already talking about another Masters without sponsors, even if making up the difference means sending members out on the golf course in their green jackets to sell boxes of cookies.
The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”