Votaw Augusta Owes it to Golf to Invite Women

By Associated PressNovember 21, 2002, 5:00 pm
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Votaw urged Augusta National to admit a female member, saying Augusta's obligation to golf outweighs its rights as a private club.
The LPGA Tour is not involved with the Masters. Votaw said he wanted to make his position clear because, 'We represent not just women, but the game.'
'Augusta's exclusionary practices with respect to women speaks volumes,' he said Wednesday at the season-ending ADT Championship. 'The message it sends is that women cannot be part of that face of golf. And that's wrong.'
He said the club's decision to treat race differently from gender is 'perpetuating golf's exclusionary past and the perception that golf is elitist and exclusionary.'
Club spokesman Glenn Greenspan disagreed. He said single-gender groups like Augusta National and the LPGA are 'legally and morally proper.'
'It is clear that millions of Americans both support and belong to these organizations,' Greenspan said.
The LPGA Tour excludes men from competition, and Votaw said that would continue because of the physical differences between men and women.
However, he has recommended that his board of directors accept men as members of the LPGA Teaching and Club Pro division, which has 1,200 members.
The debate over Augusta National's all-male membership escalated in July when club chairman Hootie Johnson denounced Martha Burk and the National Council of Women's Organizations for demanding a female member by the next Masters, in April.
The Masters already has dropped its three television sponsors to keep them out of the controversy, and he said two weeks ago there was no chance Augusta National would have a female member in the near future.
'This news is disappointing because the highly charged rhetoric on both sides of this issue has become a distraction and is damaging to the game of golf,' Votaw said.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem refused to be drawn into the debate earlier this month during his state-of-the-tour message, saying only that the tour will continue to recognize the Masters as an official tournament.
Votaw said he has spoken with Finchem and Johnson recently, but said those conversations would remain private.
'Ty has broken ranks and that's good,' Burk said Wednesday evening. 'I think it's more significant than just one more voice. Because the LPGA is one of the ruling bodies, I hope it's going to increase the pressure on the PGA Tour to stop behaving hypocritically.'
Augusta National donates more than $3 million a year to charities, and the LPGA Tour is among the beneficiaries. Karrie Webb and Kelly Robbins are among LPGA members who have played Augusta National this year.
'The Masters has been the LPGA's friend in many ways,' Votaw said. 'We respect and appreciate and want to acknowledge much of what the organization has done. But we cannot condone its stance on this issue.'
The issue has not gone away, even as golf heads into its short offseason.
The New York Times wrote an editorial Monday suggesting that two-time defending champion Tiger Woods not play, and that corporate executives give up their membership.
Woods said from Japan the editorial was frustrating, because 'I'm the only player they're asking. They're asking me to give up an opportunity no one has ever had -- winning the Masters three years in a row.'
During a conference call for the upcoming Skins Game, former Masters champions Mark O'Meara and Fred Couples agreed that it was unfair to single out Woods.
They also said they would continue to play in the Masters.
'Listen, I'm all for women's rights,' O'Meara said. 'I'm all for equal pay and for women doing as good a job as men. She's got my vote. But I think it's getting a little out of control.'
In a letter to the Times published Thursday, Julian Bond, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Woods 'ought not to be expected to shoulder this burden alone.'
'The NAACP believes that the athletes who play at discriminatory golf clubs endorse wrongful exclusion by their presence,' Bond added. 'Businesses that sponsor memberships and advertisers and broadcasters of club events subsidize and condone discrimination.'
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said last week he would organize protests during the Masters if the club did not admit a female member, and encouraged players not to cross picket lines.
'I didn't even know he played golf or knew any golfers,' Couples said. 'I really can't speak on what he's trying to do. I can commend him for it. I think that's great. But I play golf for a living, and it's my favorite tournament.
'There is no way that I am not flying to Augusta in April and not playing at Augusta National. There is just no way.'

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

Getty Images

Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

Getty Images

Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.