Augusta Shame on Martha Burk

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NEW YORK -- Martha Burk believes it is 'appalling' that women who fight for the United States in Iraq face discrimination at home at private golf clubs like Augusta National.

But others think it's Burk's decision to use the war in Iraq to further her fight against Masters Chairman Hootie Johnson that is appalling.
 
'Broadcasting The Masters now and showcasing a club that discriminates against women is an insult to the nearly quarter million women in the U..S. armed forces,' Burk said at a news conference Wednesday.
 
'It's appalling that the women who are willing to lay down their lives for democratic ideals should be shut out of this club. ... Democratic ideals do not include discrimination,' said Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations.
 
When asked about her comments by PGATOUR.COM, veteran professional Scott Hoch's jaw almost dropped.
 
'I really don't have a response to that because I think that's just way out there,' Hoch said.
 
'I'm pretty neutral about a lot of things -- not so much neutral because as you know I'm pretty opinionated. But that particular thing, I can't see that,' he said. 'I mean, I look at things in perspective and I'm not too biased about how I look at things, and I just can't see that. I can't see that at all. '
 
While many at this week's Players Championship have sought to steer clear of the Masters controversy -- in part due to the onset of war and in part out of respect for the magnitude of this week's event - Hoch said he felt Burk's group needed to get some perspective.
 
'It (the Masters) is a tough situation -- actually, that's not even a tough situation when you consider what's going on in the rest of the world,' said this year's winner of The Ford Championship at Doral.
 
'To me, they should put that -- as far as Augusta -- they should put that way on the back burner compared to what else is going on right now. To me, that was small potatoes before -- like I said, to have one probably rich, white woman into the club -- when there are a lot of other issues at hand, and especially the war going on. Get your priorities straight. Maybe before it was all right, but now, after us going to war, we need to put that on the back burner until we get everything else settled down.'
 
Hoch said that by Burk's logic: 'Then I guess the men (in the U.S. military) ought to be teed off too because all the soldiers over there fighting can't play Augusta, either. To say that -- wow, I really don't have a response.'
 
The Masters, the year's first major tournament, will be held April 10-13 and Burk has said she plans to protest in Augusta, Ga. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit on her behalf to hold a protest at the club's front gates.
 
Burk said the club's all-male membership is an affront to women in the U.S. armed forces, particularly those in Iraq.
 
Club spokesman Glenn Greenspan characterized Burk's remarks as 'grandstanding.'
 
'Ms. Burk will say anything to get publicity,' Greenspan said. 'But if she is invoking the troops to draw more attention to herself, only three words apply -- shame on you.'
 
Chicago Sun Times columnist Jay Mariotti wrote that both Burk and Johnson were 'embarrassing' America, but he saved most of his wrath for Burk's latest war strategy.
 
'More insufferable than ever, Burk is shamelessly using the war hook as a means to further pressure Hootie -- whatever good impressions she had made in battling Augusta National's stone-age attitudes about all-male membership have evaporated amid her ignorance and grandstanding,' Mariotti wrote.
 
CBS officials had no comment on Burk's latest statements.
 
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