Hootie Wont Budge on Burk

By Associated PressApril 7, 2004, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. Like an impenetrable goalie on top of his game, Hootie Johnson kept stonewalling the shots. Tired of talking about women, the chairman of Augusta National believes it's time for his club and the Masters to move on.
'I really think the American public is ready for us to talk about golf,' Johnson said Wednesday, the eve of the opening round.
Last year at his 'State of the Masters' news conference, Johnson was patient with the persistent questioning about Martha Burk and her efforts to call out Augusta National for not having any female members.
At one point, he proclaimed, 'If I die right now, our position will not change.'
This year, Johnson was nowhere near as colorful. He fielded five questions on the issue, and dispatched each with a calculated economy of words.
Did he feel like he'd won the public-relations battle with Burk, the head of the National Council of Women's Organizations? 'I don't feel like we won anything. I feel it's over. Well, it'll never be over, but I don't think we won anything.'
Is Augusta National any closer to admitting a female member?
'We are a private club and I'm not going to talk about our club matters.'
What about Burk's new initiative, targeting corporations associated with members of Augusta National? 'I really think you ought to talk to Ms. Burk about that.'
What impact did Burk's campaign have on the tournament and the club? 'I leave that up to you to judge.'
Johnson is apparently so solid with his stance that he said the days of televising the tournament without commercials will be over soon. When Burk put pressure on TV sponsors to pull their ads before last year's tournament, Johnson responded by saying there would be no commercials. This will be the second straight year under that arrangement.
'We don't have any firm plans on sponsors in the future, but I do expect we'll have them in time,' he said.
The protests Burk planned on the Saturday of the tournament last year largely fizzled, drawing more reporters than participants. She blamed it on being relegated by local ordinances to an open field, well away from the entrance to the course at the intersection of Washington Road and Magnolia Lane.
Speaking from her office in Washington, she insisted her mission is not over.
'I'm very happy with where we are,' she said. 'We're doing now exactly what we said we were going to do last year after the tournament. We're turning our attention to corporate involvement, and doing it successfully. What's happening on the golf course is irrelevant to the direction we're taking.'
Indeed, on the golf course, this seems like a dead issue.
'If it was as big a deal as she made it out to be, we'd still be talking about it,' Charles Howell III said recently.
Earlier this week, Burk announced she was investigating eight Wall Street companies whose top executives are members of Augusta National. She also hired Washington lawyer Cyrus Mehri, whose firm served as counsel in two of the largest race discrimination cases in history.
'What I think is going on there is a whole lot of denial,' Burk said. 'Hootie and, I suppose, some of his members are trying to pretend things are back to normal.'
Johnson was more receptive to a question about whether 14-year-old Michelle Wie might someday be allowed to play in the tournament.
'We'd be pleased to have Michelle play in the Masters tournament if she qualifies,' he said.
The most likely avenue would be for her to win the men's U.S. Amateur Public Links, or to reach the finals of the men's U.S. Amateur.
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.