Golfers Show Support As Masters Begins

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 10, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- The men in green stood together, a defiant show of support for Augusta National Golf Club and its steadfast belief that only men should wear those coveted jackets.
 
With Tiger Woods set to pursue an unprecedented third straight Masters title beginning Thursday, Augusta National got another chance to make its case for having an all-male club.
 
With the spotlight on Hootie Johnson, the club chairman used his annual state-of-the-Masters address to make a no-apologies statement about the exclusive membership policy.
 
'Men like to get together with men every now and then, and women like to get together with women every now and then,' the 72-year-old Johnson said Wednesday. 'That's a simple fact of life in America.'
 
Martha Burk wants to change that part of American life, at least at Augusta National, though a federal appeals court turned down her request to protest Saturday outside the front gate.
 
'Clearly, they put this club over the Constitution,' she said. 'That ought to be a concern for everyone in this country.'
 
Burk and her supporters will be relegated to a grassy field about a half-mile from the main entrance to Magnolia Lane - unless she defies local authorities and risks arrest.
 
'If we ask folks to move on and they refuse, they are breaking the law,' Sheriff Ronald Strength said.
 
Johnson said his club isn't breaking any laws: It is simply a private club that has the final say on who gets in - and who stays out.
 
To dramatize the club's position, more than 60 green-jacketed men - about 20 percent of the membership - flanked the chairman during a news conference dominated by questions about membership policy.
 
'If I drop dead this second, our position will not change on this issue,' Johnson said. 'It's not my issue alone.'
 
At the Masters, it seems, some things never change.
 
The azaleas and dogwoods are bursting with colors. Arnold Palmer still strolls the fairways, carried along by a legion of fans. Woods, as always, is the heavy favorite.
 
And anyone who thought Augusta National might cave in to pressure and allow a woman to wear a green jacket was met - again - by utter defiance.
 
'There may well come a time when we include women as members of our club,' Johnson said. 'However, I want to emphasize that we have no timetable, and our membership is very comfortable with our present status.'
 
Burk watched a telecast of the news conference.
 
'I think it's kind of sad,' she said. 'He's firmly planting his seat in the last century.'
 
Players have been dragged into the debate, too. Instead of being asked about the slick, contoured greens and the tricky 12th hole planted behind Rae's Creek, they are grilled on whether women should belong to the private club that hosts the public Masters.
 
Woods would like to see Augusta National admit women members, although the world's No. 1 player concedes he has no influence on club matters.
 
Johnson could not have agreed more.
 
'I won't tell Tiger how to play golf if he doesn't tell us how to run our private club,' Johnson said.
 
Woods certainly doesn't need any lessons.
 
Already the most dominant player in golf, Woods looks better than ever after taking two months off for surgery on his left knee.
 
Now, he is on familiar soil, a course he has mastered under every circumstance:
 
- A 12-stroke victory in 1997 when he broke the course record at 18-under 270.
 
- A two-stroke victory in 2001 under the pressure of trying to become the first player in history to win four straight professional majors.
 
- A three-shot win last year when his top challengers wilted trying to catch him.
 
Now, he can move into uncharted territory: three straight Masters victories. Only Jack Nicklaus (1965-66) and Nick Faldo (1989-90) have won two in a row.
 
'It's not a golf course where I feel like I'm learning something every time I play it,' Woods said. 'I feel as if I have a pretty good understanding of how to play each and every hole.'
 
He has played five tournaments in the last two months and won three times, including an 11-stroke victory at Bay Hill, a course set up for big hitters.
 
Augusta National figures to play longer than ever - another advantage for Woods.
 
The sun disappeared Sunday morning and heavy rain has pounded Augusta National for the last three days. The golf course was closed on Monday, and practice was limited the next two days. The popular par-3 contest was halted Wednesday when another storm rolled through east Georgia.
 
'It favors someone who is hitting the ball high and long and straight,' Woods said. 'You've got to keep the ball in the fairway, but you've got to get it out there.'
 
The club already has said players won't be able to lift, clean and place their balls in the fairway. Mud on the ball makes it difficult to control where it's going, and control is everything at Augusta.
 
'Let's face it,' said Ernie Els, a four-time winner this year and expected to be one of the top contenders. 'Tiger's going to be there.'
 
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.
  • Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

    While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

    Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

    The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    ''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

    Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

    Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

    ''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

    The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

    ''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

    If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: