Masters to Run Commercials in 2005
Martha Burk and her campaign against the all-male membership at Augusta National might not be too far behind.
Ending two years of a commercial-free broadcast at golf's highest-rated event, Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson said Friday three corporate sponsors -- ExxonMobil, SBC Communications and IBM -- will provide four minutes of commercials every hour in a telecast that has been extended 90 minutes.
Johnson dropped the previous TV sponsors two years ago when Burk and her National Council of Women's Organizations began to pressure companies, claiming their sponsorship was a veiled endorsement for sex discrimination.
All but forgotten at the last Masters, the new sponsors could give Burk's cause fresh legs.
'I'm shocked that any responsible company would want to be identified with the blatant sex discrimination practiced by Augusta National,' Burk said. 'Perhaps these companies think the controversy has gone away. It has not. It will not.'
Burk's protest of the 2003 Masters fizzled in a grassy lot a half-mile from the club, where her 40 supporters were dwarfed by media and police.
A federal appeals court ruled four months ago that Augusta, Ga., city officials should not have kept Burk from protesting outside the gates of the golf course.
Burk said it was too early to tell if she would return for the '05 Masters, but 'nothing is stopping us.'
The television sponsors at the Masters before the all-male membership became an issue were IBM, Coca-Cola and Citigroup. Spokesmen at Coca-Cola and Citigroup declined comment when asked if they had a chance to return.
'We're sponsoring a tournament,' ExxonMobil spokesman Lauren Kerr said. 'The Augusta membership is a decision for their board. But the Masters Tournament stands as one of the world's leading sporting events, and that's where our focus is.'
An SBC spokesman referred to a statement on its Web site that said it was a great opportunity, as one of only three television sponsors, to reach millions of viewers.
A spokesman for IBM did not immediately return calls seeking comment. IBM has assisted the Masters with scoring operations the last two decades.
Johnson had said the club could go on 'indefinitely' without TV advertising revenue. Still, Augusta National raised four-day ticket prices to last year's Masters from $125 to $175, and the Masters reaps revenue from merchandise sales and international TV rights. The Masters is broadcast in 190 countries.
In a release from the club, Johnson did not say why the Masters decided to return to television sponsors, only that the fans would be pleased with the additional TV coverage, and that the sponsors are leaders in their fields that 'will make a positive contribution to this tournament.'
The club said Johnson would have no further comment.
USA Network will add an additional 30 minutes of coverage the first two rounds (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. EDT), while CBS Sports will add 30 minutes to its coverage of the third round (3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. EDT). Coverage of the final round remains 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Phil Mickelson, who recently signed a deal with ExxonMobil to promote math and science education, is the defending champion after making an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win his first major.
While Augusta National does not have a membership policy, it has not had a female member in its 70-year history.
The debate over the all-male membership, and the separation between a private club and a public tournament, reached just about every corner imaginable in golf leading up to the 2003 Masters.
Burk asked the PGA Tour to no longer count the Masters as an official victory or official money. Newspaper editorials demanded that Johnson resign as club chairman and urged Tiger Woods to boycott the Masters.
It all started with letter Burk sent to Johnson on June 12, 2002, recommending that the club invite a woman to join so that it would not become an issue at the next Masters.
Johnson took that as a threat and fired off a three-page statement in which he said Augusta National would not be bullied or intimidated. In what became a slogan to the 10-month campaign, Johnson said the club might one day have a female member on its own timetable, 'not at the point of a bayonet.'
Burk launched her campaign by attacking television sponsors, which Johnson dismissed to keep them out of the fray, and CBS Sports, which said it would continue to broadcast the Masters. She later launched a Web site that included a 'Hall of Hypocrisy,' in which the NCWO listed corporations that claimed to have policies against sex discrimination, but whose CEOs were members at Augusta National.
Relatively quiet the last year, Burk said her campaign has not died, and that the new television sponsors can expect to hear from her organization.
'I think we'll probably get in touch with the three companies,' she said. 'It's a heck of a statement to make to their employees, customers and shareholders that gender discrimination is not serious.'
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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.