Thomas H. Wyman, a 25-year member of Augusta National, told the Times that club chairman Hootie Johnson's position not to admit women was unacceptable and 'pigheaded.' He estimated that as many as one quarter of the roughly 300 club members also support the admission of women.
'I am not anxious to make this personal,' Wyman told the newspaper. 'But Hootie keeps writing that there has not been a single case of protest in the membership. And he absolutely believes this will all go away. It will not go away and it should not. I know there is a large number of members, at least 50 to 75, who believe it is inevitable that there will be and should be a woman member.
'There are obviously some redneck, old-boy types down there, but there are a lot of very thoughtful, rational people in the membership and they feel as strongly as I do.'
Augusta National issued a statement to the Times about Wyman's resignation.
'We are disappointed that Mr. Wyman has chosen to publicize a private matter,' club spokesman Glenn Greenspan said. 'While we respect the fact that there are differences of opinion on this issue, we intend to stand firm behind our right to make what are both appropriate and private membership choices.'
The debate over Augusta National's all-male membership escalated in July when Johnson denounced Martha Burk and the National Council of Women's Organizations for demanding a female member by the next Masters, in April.
The Masters already has dropped its three television sponsors to keep them out of the controversy, and Johnson said last month there was no chance Augusta National would have a female member in the near future.
Wyman also called on Augusta members and former Masters champions Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus to support the admission of a woman member.
'Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus could be very helpful with their voices,' Wyman said. 'It would be nice if they came out and said: 'Why can't there be a woman member?''
Palmer and Nicklaus have been reluctant to talk about membership at Augusta National.
'I don't think I can lend anything to help the situation,' Palmer told The Associated Press last month. 'I'm a member, and I appreciate the fact I'm a member. And that's all I'm going to say about Augusta.'
Wyman also said CBS should support the effort to admit a woman member.
'CBS could at least come out in favor of a commitment from Augusta National on the admission of a woman,' Wyman said. 'They have a constituency that cares about this issue and I was disappointed CBS didn't do more. They should say it is inevitable and it should happen sooner rather than later. People say that if CBS takes on Hootie they'll lose the tournament. I don't think that is so.'
Wyman, 72, was CEO of the CBS television network from 1979-86 and was the chairman of the SG Warburg & Co., from 1992-96. He is currently a visiting scholar at Harvard Business School and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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