Burk Calls for CEO Resignations

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 10, 2003, 4:00 pm
ATLANTA (AP) -- Martha Burk called on members of the Augusta National Golf Club Thursday to resign in protest against their chairman, Hootie Johnson, if they believe women should be allowed in.
 
'We will no longer bother to rebut Augusta National Incorporated's paid media consultant or its chairman in defending their flagrant sex discrimination,' said Burk, the chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, at Thursday's news conference. 'We turn now to concentrating of the stakeholders -- the corporate CEOs who have the power as members.'
 
Burk was backed by the National Organization for Women and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition along with other supporters who stood in bitter cold at the Martin Luther King Center.
 
Her announcement was a response to Johnson saying Wednesday his members stand solidly behind a policy that keeps women out of the club. Burk said she didn't buy his claim.
 
'If they believe Augusta National is right to continue excluding women, then I challenge them to hold a news conference and tell us publicly,' she said. 'If they do not agree with this policy, they must resign their memberships. ... The choice is to stand up and support Hootie, or stand down.'
 
Burk and her supporters said they defend the rights of private organizations, but added that the golf club is exempt from those rights because it is a for-profit club that uses public resources. She accused the CEOs in the club of being hypocrites by promoting diversity in the work force but excluding women from their golf club.
 
'This particular group of stakeholders in Augusta National Incorporated hold up to a billion dollars in government and military contracts, meaning tax dollars fill their coffers,' she said. 'Yet these corporate titans maintain memberships in an organization that shuts out half of the taxpayers that foot the bill.'
 
Burk said a federal appeal court''s decision to refuse to overrule the Augusta sheriff's authority to deny Burk a permit to protest at the main gate was a setback, but she won't give up easily.
 
A meeting with Sheriff Ronald Strength has been scheduled for Friday to decide where protest groups may picket during the tournament Saturday, Burk said.
 
Burk currently is slotted for a 5.1-acre weedy lot chosen by the sheriff and owned by Augusta National. She calls it 'the pit,' and she hasn't ruled out sending a handful of protesters to the gate.
 
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, in a teleconference from Chicago Thursday, said ministers from around Georgia are organizing members of their congregations to be in Augusta on Saturday morning at a church, still to be chosen, near the country club.
 
He said his group will stand arm-and-arm with Martha Burk's protesters at the event.
 
'The real issue is the PGA (Tour) should not in fact support the Masters being held in Augusta so long as it is gender discriminatory,' Jackson said. 'Just as the PGA (Tour) should not participate in apartheid South Africa, they should not participate in gender apartheid in Augusta.'
 
Jackson had harsh words for Johnson.
 
'He is swimming upstream against history,' Jackson said, noting that women have been allowed in all levels of government and the judicial system. 'All of this controversy could be ended if Hootie joined this century.'
 
Jackson, who will not be at Saturday's protest, said the protest will be nonviolent, but the group plans to have its voice heard. If protesters are not allowed close enough to the event to make their point, they plan to intensify their action, he said.
 
'Plan B is arrest if plan A is denied,' Jackson said.
 
The recent developments haven't held back Burk, who said her plans to put a dent in the club's exclusionary policy surpasses this weekend's crowning of a champion.
 
She said consumers, especially women, should stop buying products from companies that have members in the club.
 
'Some people picket, and others protest with pocket books,' she said. 'Women aren't fools. They know when a corporation is marketing toward them.'
 
She even attributed the cancelation of Thursday's first round because of bad weather to female power.
 
'The goddess is watching over us,' she said.
 
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
     
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

    Getty Images

    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

    Getty Images

    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

    Getty Images

    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry