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Augusta Debate Crosses the Pacific

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KAPALUA, Hawaii -- The PGA Tour season has resumed and so too has the Augusta National debate ' much to the chagrin of many of the players.
 
Hootie Johnson, Nick Price said in an exasperated state. Hes made a lot of our lives very uncomfortable.
 
Everywhere I go Im asked that question, whether its South Africa, New Zealand three weeks ago, at home, whatever.
 
The situation has continued to escalate since Augusta National Chairman Johnson replied publicly to a letter from Martha Burk, head of the National Council of Womens Organizations, saying he wouldnt be forced to allow a female member at the private club.
 
Price said he realized that the club has the right to allow members at its own discretion, but added, They do have a public event there. They make money from having us there. Theyre 10 years behind the times.
 
South African Ernie Els said that while he may get asked about his opinion on the issue, its not a big deal outside of the United States.
 
I just feel there are more important issues in the world right now than getting, you know, particular members of certain clubs, he said.
 
It does hit home, however, for Charles Howell III. He grew up five miles from the club and spent a couple of days at home for the holidays. He said his younger brothers girlfriend works for the largest caterer in Augusta, and several parties have canceled.
 
I think the impact goes well beyond the golf to hurting the city and the economy. A lot of people depend on the income through the Masters, he said. I think thats the sad part of it, that those people are getting hurt.
 
Second Honeymoon
 
This is Howells first appearance in the Mercedes Championships, but its not the first time hes played the Kapalua Plantation course.
 
Howell honeymooned in Kapalua in 2001. Of course, he brought his clubs with him and played three of the four days he was in Maui.
 
I took the day off when we got married, he said.
 
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