Controvery Sparks New Business Anti-Burk T-Shirts
What is different about the 41-year-old, former advertising executive and real estate salesman is how he went broke.
Manzi was listening to the radio last fall while driving from Orlando, Fla., to his home in Tampa. He had just left a job. He swears he wasn't looking for a crusade. He doesn't even play golf.
But on came Martha Burk, who runs the National Council of Women's Organizations, talking about how she planned to force Hootie Johnson, who oversees Augusta National and The Masters tournament, to admit women as members. Something inside Manzi snapped.
'I was just so ticked off by her, by her presumption that she was speaking for all women,' he said Thursday, 'and I figured a lot of people felt that way. So I'm driving and thinking, 'What if I came up with a slogan and put it on some T-shirts?''
He does not deny trying to make a buck in the bargain. And though he's not the only opportunist in a field that already includes Burk and Jesse Jackson, he is the only one losing his shirt.
'Yeah, I needed something to do and sure, I thought it could be huge. But I also knew it could flop. You learn that in marketing. That's the way it is with any opportunity. Still, I need passion to drive me,' Manzi said, 'and I was passionate about this.'
That's the problem with passion, of course. One thing quickly leads to another.
Manzi had to back off the original slogan (unfit to reprint here) and come up with a new one. After that, he ordered dozens of golf balls with a likeness of Burk on the side and began offering them for sale along with the T-shirts and hats on his web site, www.theburkstopshere.com.
One indication of how he's fared is apparent from the link in the top right corner of the home page. It reads: 'Todd Manzi is looking for a real job. Click here if you would like to hire Todd.'
And he's not the only person surprised it turned out this way. Colleen Severson, the business manager for a Minneapolis builder's association where Manzi was a successful marketer, said, 'When Todd puts his mind to something, it usually works out.'
Maybe Manzi wasn't cut out to be an activist. Besides missing a paycheck since October, he's plowed his savings -- about $25,000 -- into the enterprise. His family is living off credit cards and money isn't his only headache, either.
Manzi was a stay-at-home dad for almost a year and he worries he's neglecting his two young kids. He's had a half-dozen tearful, heart-to-hearts with his wife, Barb, and his neighbors are tired of debating the issue. They won't have to worry about it much longer, though.
Manzi figures he's in the stretch run now and that if he sells the house and finds work soon after the Masters ends, he could be out of debt by June, 'maybe.'
And now for the strangest part: Manzi doesn't spend much time worrying about whether Augusta has none, one or 100 female members. What keeps him awake nights is that Burk's pressure tactics will succeed. To combat that, he ripped a page from Burk's book, trying to do to her what she has done to Augusta National.
'All 300 or so members there know Hootie is speaking for them, and they can agree or disagree as they see fit. Martha Burk has 10 women on a steering committee,' he said, 'and if I'd been able to establish that her support goes much beyond that group, you wouldn't be talking to me right now.'
Burk did not return a phone call Thursday.
But nearly every poll conducted on the controversy shows women equally divided over whether Augusta National should admit females. With that number in mind, Manzi attempted to contact the dozen organizations that comprise roughly 80 percent of the 7 million women the NCWO says it represents, and asked them whether they support Burk's campaign. He claims to have convinced at least one group to quit NCWO, though the organization says it didn't renew its membership because of an oversight.
'As a society, we have to decide if one person with an impressive letterhead can do whatever they please,' he said. 'Plus, she's talking about all these benefits being denied to women because no one belongs there, but so far, the only economic impact it's had is on Augusta, and it's all been bad.
'Corporations are skipping the Masters, which means the catering firms and furniture stores and who-knows-what-other-businesses there -- some of them run by women -- are losing money.'
In the meantime, Burk tours the country using the media to tighten the screws on Augusta National. Manzi visited Augusta several weeks ago to scout sites and file a permit for a counter-demonstration. Otherwise, he sits at home, putting in 70-hour workweeks with encouraging e-mails as his only compensation.
'I saw her on TV the other day and I got so mad all over again, I almost threw a brick through it. And if I'd had a steady paycheck coming in,' Manzi said, 'I might have.'
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
U.S. Open purse payout: Koepka clears $2 million
Brooks Koepka successfully defended his title at the U.S. Open and he was handsomely rewarded for his efforts. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out at Shinnecock Hills.
|T25||Charles Howell III||+12||$79,200|
|T36||Rafa Cabrera Bello||+13||$54,054|
|T48||Luis Gagne (a)||+16||$0|
|T48||Matt Parziale (a)||+16||$0|
|66||Will Grimmer (a)||+23||$0|
|67||Byeong Hun An||+26||$23,470|
What's in the bag: U.S. Open winner Koepka
Brooks Koepka won his second consecutive U.S. Open title on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills. Here's a look inside the winner's bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70 TX shaft
Fairway woods: TaylorMade M2 Tour HL (16.5 degrees), with Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 TX shaft
Irons: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (3), with Fujikura Pro 95 Tour Spec shaft; Mizuno JPX-900 Tour (4-PW), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts, PW with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shaft
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 Raw (52, 56 degrees), SM7 Raw TVD (60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts
Putter: Scotty Cameron T10 Select Newport 2 prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Repeat U.S. Open win gives Koepka credit he deserves
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – In an ironic twist Sunday, the last man to win consecutive U.S. Opens was tasked with chronicling Brooks Koepka’s final round at Shinnecock Hills.
Carrying a microphone for Fox Sports, Curtis Strange kept his composure as the on-course reporter. He didn’t cough in Koepka’s downswing. Didn’t step on his ball in the fescue. Didn’t talk too loudly while Koepka lined up a putt.
Instead, Strange stood off to the side, clipboard covering his mouth, and watched in awe as Koepka stamped himself as the best U.S. Open player of this next generation.
And so after Koepka became the first player in 29 years to take consecutive Opens, Strange found himself fourth in the greeting line near the 18th green. He was behind Koepka’s playing competitor, Dustin Johnson. And he was behind Koepka’s father, Bob. And he was behind Koepka’s caddie, Ricky Elliott.
But there Strange was, standing on a sandy path leading to the clubhouse, ready to formally welcome Koepka into one of the most exclusive clubs in golf.
“Hell of a job, bud,” Strange barked in his ear, above the din. “Incredible.”
That Koepka prevailed on two wildly different layouts, and in totally different conditions, was even more satisfying.
Erin Hills, in Middle of Nowhere, Wis., was unlike any U.S. Open venue in recent memory. The wide-open fairways were lined with thick, deep fescue, but heavy rain early in the week and the absence of any significant wind turned golf’s toughest test into the Greater Milwaukee Open. Koepka bashed his way to a record-tying score (16 under par) and over the past year has never felt fully appreciated, in large part because of the weirdness of the USGA setup.
Koepka doesn’t concern himself with that type of noise, of course, but when he arrived at Shinnecock earlier this week he felt a sense of familiarity. The generous fairways. The punishing venue. The premium on iron play.
“It’s a similar feel,” Elliott said. “We said it all week.”
A new, quirky venue like Erin Hills might not have been held in high regard, but the rich history of Shinnecock? It demanded respect.
“He’s some player,” Strange said, “and I’m proud of him because there was some talk last year of Erin Hills not being the Open that is supposed to be an Open. But he won on a classic, so he’s an Open player.”
“This one is a lot sweeter,” Koepka said.
Those around the 28-year-old were shocked that he even had a chance to defend his title.
Last fall Koepka began feeling discomfort in his left wrist. He finished last in consecutive tournaments around the holidays, then underwent an MRI that showed he had a torn ligament in his left wrist.
Koepka takes immense pride in having a life outside of golf – he never watches Tour coverage on off-weeks – but he was downright miserable during his indefinite stint on the sidelines. He said it was the lowest point of his career, as he sat in a soft cast up to his elbow, binge-watching TV shows and gaining 15 pounds. The only players he heard from during his hiatus: Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson.
“You just feel like you get forgotten,” Koepka said.
During the spring, Elliott would occasionally drive from Orlando to Jupiter, Fla., to check on his boss. “He was down in the dumps,” he said. “That sort of injury he had, it didn’t seem like there was going to be an end. There was no timeframe on it, and that was the most frustrating thing.”
After the Masters, Koepka told Elliott that his wrist was feeling better and that he was going to start hitting balls. Elliott brought his clubs to South Florida, and they played a few holes at The Floridian.
“He was hitting it right on the button,” Elliott said. “I said, ‘Are you sure you haven’t been practicing?’ He hadn’t missed a beat. I have no idea how he does it. He’s just a tremendously talented guy.”
In limited action before the Open, Koepka fired a trio of 63s, at TPC Sawgrass and Colonial. He’s never been short on confidence – as a 12-year-old he once told his dad that he was going to drop out of school in four years and turn pro – and he recently woofed to swing coach Claude Harmon III that he was primed to win sometime in May or June.
“I said to him on the range this morning, ‘You were on your couch in January and February, not really knowing if you were going to be able to play here,’” Harmon said. “I think that’s why it means so much to him. That’s one of the reasons that he kept saying no one was more confident than him, because to get this opportunity to come back and play and have a chance to win back-to-back U.S. Opens, he was going to take advantage of it as best he could.”
Koepka carded a second-round 66 to put himself in the mix, then survived a hellacious third-round setup to join a four-way tie for the lead, along with Johnson, the world No. 1 and his fellow Bash Brother.
As much as Johnson is praised for his resilience, Koepka has proven to be equally tough in crunch time, especially in this major. There’s no better stage for Koepka to showcase his immense gifts than the Open, an examination that tests players physically, mentally and even spiritually. But Koepka, like Johnson, never joined the growing chorus of complainers at Shinnecock. The closest he came to criticizing the setup was this: “I think the course is very close.”
Rather than whine, he said that he relished the challenge of firing away from flags. He accepted bad shots. He tried to eliminate double bogeys. Even after his wrist injury, Koepka showed no hesitation gouging out of the deep fescue, his ferocious clubhead speed allowing him to escape the rough and chase approach shots near the green, where he could rely on his sneaky-good short game.
“He has the perfect game to play in majors,” Harmon said. “He probably plays more conservatively in majors. We’re always joking that we wish he would play the way he does in majors every week. I just think he knows how important pars and bogeys are. It says a lot about him as a player.”
Johnson has many of the same physical and mental attributes, and they’ve each benefited from the other’s intense focus and discipline. They both adhere to a strict diet and are frequent workout partners, which even included a gym session on Sunday morning, before their penultimate pairing. They made small talk, chatting about lifting and how many of the Sunday pins were located in the middle of the green, but after they arrived at the course they barely said two words to each other.
“They’re good friends on and off the course,” Harmon said, “but they definitely want to kick the s--- out of each other.”
“That’s the way it’s supposed to be,” Strange said. “If they’re best buddies, well, you’re standing between me and the trophy. You don’t care much for him for 4 1/2 hours.”
There was much at stake Sunday, but none more significant than Koepka’s march on history. Squaring off head-to-head against the game’s best player, Koepka outplayed Johnson from the outset, going 3 under for the first 10 holes to open up a two-shot lead. And unlike at Erin Hills, where he pulled away late with birdies, it was his par (and bogey) saves that kept Koepka afloat on Nos. 11, 12 and 14.
In the end, he clipped Fleetwood (who shot a record-tying 63) by one and Johnson by two.
“You’ve got to give him a lot of credit,” Strange said, shaking his head. “He’s got a lot of guts.”
As Koepka marched away to sign his card, Strange was asked if it was bittersweet to know that he’s no longer the answer to the trivia question, the last guy to go back-to-back at the Open.
“Heck no!” he said. “What are they going to do, take one away? I’m a part of a group. And it’s a good group. I hope it means as much to him as it has to me.”
This time, Dad gets to enjoy Koepka's Father's Day win
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – When Brooks Koepka won his first U.S. Open last year at Erin Hills the celebration was relatively subdued.
His family didn’t attend the ’17 championship, but there was no way they were missing this year’s U.S. Open.
“This year we booked something about five miles away [from Shinnecock Hills]," said Koepka’s father, Bob. "We weren’t going to miss it and I’m so glad we’re here.”
The family was treated to a show, with Koepka closing with a 68 for a one-stroke victory to become the first player since Curtis Strange in 1989 to win back-to-back U.S. Opens.
Koepka called his father early Sunday to wish him a happy Father’s Day, and Bob Koepka said he noticed a similar confidence in his son’s voice to the way he sounded when they spoke on Sunday of last year’s championship.
There was also one other similarity.
“Two years in a row, I haven't gotten him anything [for Father’s Day],” Brooks Koepka laughed. “Next year, I'm not going to get him anything either. It might bring some good luck.
“It's incredible to have my family here, and my dad loves golf. To be here, he loves watching. To share it with him this time, it will be a little bit sweeter.”