BURK FILES; PLANS TO SUE: A couple hundred people is how Dr. Martha Burk, chief of the National Council of Womens Organizations, describes her plans for protests in Augusta, Ga., during Masters week, which begins April 7. The week is expected to be the climax of Burks year-long campaign to have Augusta National Golf Club admit a woman member.
Burk filed documents Thursday to obtain a city protest permit, beating by at least 10 days the new requirement that protest applications be filed 20 days before the protest date.
But more conflict is on the horizon. Burk plans to sue the city because of certain language in the permit and application. The Georgia branch of the American Civil Liberties Union will file a complaint in federal district court in Augusta on March 11 alleging that the hold harmless clause in the permit is unconstitutional.
Such clauses generally absolve an issuing authority of any liability for injury or damage to the user of the permit. Burk and the ACLU maintain that the city and its police shouldnt be able to slough off that duty. Burk is likely to argue that a hold harmless clause would have a chilling effect on public speech, and should therefore be excised from the permit under the authority of the first amendment to the United States Constitution.
The ACLUs lawyers plan other allegations as well, but refused to discuss them before the filing date. One likely legal argument may be that the citys efforts to move the protests away from the clubs frontage on Washington Road exceed reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on constitutionally protected speech.
CALLAWAY WOODS SALES STREAK: Callaway Golf claims the lead in metalwood sales for the sixth straight year, says the company, based on data from industry metrics leader Golf Datatech.
For 2002, Callaway owned 21.6 percent of the United States market measured in dollars and 28.3 percent measured in units (number of clubs sold), both No. 1 in the metalwoods category.
Callaway also led in U.S. irons sales ' 27.9 percent revenue and 16.1 percent in units (sets) ' and U.S. putter sales through its Odyssey brand, with 40.3 percent in revenues and 48.7 percent in units, according to Datatech figures.
Golf Datatech, which has been keeping track of the industry since 1997, measures actual golf shop sales through computer-based, cash-register data.
ADAMS ON ALLOCATION: The industry scuttlebutt has portrayed Adams Golf as being in trouble in recent years, and the financial statements have borne that out with much red ink. But theres more going on than meets the eye, including sold-out irons.
Demand for the companys Idea irons has been so high that Adams has had to allocate sets to pro shops instead of giving the shops as many sets as they want. Its a good problem to have in a tough industry.
While its frustrating for us not to be able to keep up with the demand, said Chip Brewer, CEO of Adams, its rewarding to see the overwhelming response to the Idea Irons.
Adams, which was founded by veteran club designer Barney Adams, is based in Plano, Texas, near Dallas.
ONLINE AT THE USGA: We figure if youre confident enough to enter a U.S. Golf Association championship, you probably have computers figured out. You can use that power to apply for three of the USGAs thirteen national championships, and soon, the other 10 as well.
Log onto www.usga.org/champs/apply to enter the U.S. Open, the U.S. Womens Open or the U.S. Senior Open. Forms for the other 10 events will be up soon, the USGA promises.
The first entry for the U.S. Open came in at 11:22 AM ET on Wednesday, March 5, just ten minutes after the form was available. And of course, that gives us a mental picture of some guy in a cubicle somewhere, clicking on Submit just as the boss comes around the corner.
Long live golf.