Judge Upholds Augusta Protest Law

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 7, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- A federal judge upheld a law that allows the sheriff to regulate protests like the one planned by Martha Burk at Augusta National Golf Club.
 
Monday's ruling was only a partial victory for city officials, however.
 
U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. hasn't decided if Sheriff Ronald Strength violated his discretion by denying Burk the right to protest at the front gates of the exclusive club, where the Masters begins Thursday.
 
Burk is planning to protest Augusta National's all-male membership on Saturday. Aware of the time constraints of the case, Bowen said he would decide the second issue soon.
 
The Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on Burk's behalf.
 
``Obviously, we're disappointed with the ruling,'' said Gerry Weber, legal director of Georgia ACLU. ``But the judge hasn't addressed whether our clients can be relegated to the outer limits to have their demonstration or whether they can be in a place where they can actually communicate with the folks they want to communicate with.''
 
Burk, who heads the National Council of Women's Organizations, wants to post 24 demonstrators outside the front gate of Augusta National and 200 more across the street during the Masters' third round.
 
Strength, who has broad authority over public protests, has told Burk and other groups the only place they can protest legally is a 5.1-acre site nearly a half-mile from the gate.
 
Strength says there's too much traffic along Washington Road, which runs in front of the club, to ensure safe protests.
 
ACLU lawyers challenged the ordinance, saying it gives the sheriff too much power to approve or deny protests and dictate their location.
 
While acknowledging that ``the ordinance was passed in anticipation for protests during the forthcoming Masters golf tournament,'' Bowen said the city had crafted a constitutional law.
 
``The ordinance does not discriminate against a particular viewpoint or limit speech to certain subject matters,'' he wrote in a 17-page decision.
 
``The ordinance, on its face, demonstrates that providing for the safety of the protesters and onlookers was the primary concern of the (city-county) commission. It is axiomatic that a government has a compelling interest in providing for the safety of its citizens.''
 
City attorney Jim Ellison said it was too early to comment on the case.
 
``We'd rather wait and see what the full judge's ruling is,'' he said. ``Until we know how the judge is going to rule completely, I don't know how to comment.''
 
Augusta National maintained that it has no interest in the court case.
 
``As we have said all along, any demonstrations that take place outside our grounds are a matter solely for local authorities,'' club spokesman Glenn Greenspan said.
 
The sheriff's office has approved protest permits for nine groups.
 
Burk and the Rev. Jesse Jackson plan to demonstrate against the all-male membership. Two groups have received permits to protest against Burk. Another group plans to protest against Jackson. A one-man faction of the Ku Klux Klan, who lists Tiger Woods as his favorite golfer, will support Augusta National's rights to private membership.
 
Another man wants to demonstrate in support of President Bush's war policy.
 
Then there's Deke Wiggins and his ``People Against Ridiculous Protests.'' Their permit has been approved, too
 
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.
  • The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

    Lexi Thompson:

    Baking time!!

    A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

    David Feherty:

    Jack Nicklaus:

    GC Tiger Tracker:

    Steve Stricker:

    Golf Channel:

    Frank Nobilo:

    Ian Poulter:

    Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

    Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

    Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

    By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

    Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

    Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

    Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

    “Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

    Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

    “When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

    Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

    “Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

    In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

    “Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

    Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

    “The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

    Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

    “Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

    Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

    Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

    LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

    Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

    Christina Kim:

    LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

    LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

    LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

    LPGA pro Jennie Lee:

    Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

    Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

    ''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

    ''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

    Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

    ''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

    Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.