Thursday, April 3
Masters controversy chronology
A chronology of the controversy over Augusta National Golf
Club's all-male membership:
June 12: Martha Burk, head of the National Council of Women's
Organizations, urges Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson in a
letter to open club membership to women now ''so that this is not
an issue'' at The Masters.
July 8: In a three-paragraph reply, Johnson writes that he
found Burk's letter to be ''offensive and coercive.''
July 9: In a three-page, 932-word statement, Johnson alerts the
media of Burk's intentions. He says women might one day be invited
to be members, but on the club's timetable and ''not at the point
of a bayonet.''
July 30: Burk writes to the CEOs of Coca-Cola, IBM and
Citigroup, asking them to suspend their television sponsorship of
The Masters because Augusta National excludes women from
membership. She also writes PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem,
asking that the tour no longer recognize The Masters as an official
Aug. 15: IBM replies in a letter to Burk that it does not view
its sponsorship as contradictory to its corporate commitment to
Aug. 20: Finchem says the PGA Tour does not control Augusta
National and cannot require the club to follow the tour's
anti-discrimination policies. He says the tour will continue to
recognize the Masters as one of golf's major championships.
Aug. 22: Citigroup says it will communicate its views privately
with Augusta National.
Aug. 30: Johnson announces he has dropped The Masters'
television sponsors to keep them out of the controversy. This leads
to the first commercial-free broadcast of a sporting event on
Aug. 31: Burk says her next target will be CBS Sports. The
network declines comment, saying only that ''CBS will broadcast the
Masters next year.''
Sept. 19: CBS Sports sends Burk a fax saying CBS will cover The
Masters. ''To not do so would be a disservice to fans of this major
Oct. 7: USOC executive director Lloyd Ward, a member at Augusta
National, tells Burk in a letter that he will work aggressively
from the inside to lobby for a female member.
Oct. 8: American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault releases
statement that he believes women should be members at Augusta
Nov. 11: In an interview with The Associated Press and four
publications, Johnson says Augusta National has no plans to admit
women as members.
Nov. 15: The Rev. Jesse Jackson says he and his Rainbow/PUSH
Coalition will protest at the Masters if the club does not invite a
Nov. 18: The New York Times publishes an editorial calling on
Tiger Woods to boycott The Masters because of its all-male
Nov. 20: LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Votaw urges Augusta National
to admit a woman, saying its obligation to golf outweighs its
rights as a private club.
Nov. 30: An Associated Press poll finds Americans evenly
divided on whether Augusta National should have women members,
while 75 percent said Tiger Woods should play.
Dec. 2: Thomas Wyman, a 25-year member at Augusta National and
former CEO of CBS, resigns in protest over the women's issue. He
said Johnson's position was ''pigheaded.''
Dec. 9: Treasury Secretary nominee John W. Snow says he will
resign his membership at Augusta National.
Dec. 17: Burk's organization launches
www.augustadiscriminates.org, which vilifies corporations whose CEO
are members at Augusta.
Feb. 8: Burk makes her first trip to Augusta, Ga., to scout
Feb. 19: City officials pass a law that requires demonstrators
to give the sheriff 20 days' notice of protest plans. Burk calls
this an intimidation tactic.
Feb. 22: Two groups apply for permits to protest against Burk.
Feb. 25: The Richmond County Sheriff's Office receives two more
requests for a protest permit: Jackson and an unidentified man in
Maine who supports Augusta National.
Feb. 27: The leader of a Ku Klux Klan splinter group asks for a
protest permit so he can support Augusta National.
March 6: Burk asks permission for two dozen women to protest
outside the front gates of Augusta National on April 12 during the
third round of The Masters. She wants 200 others to demonstrate on
Washington Road, across from the club.
March 12: The sheriff denies Burk's request to protest at
Augusta National's front gate.
March 13: The American Civil Liberties Union files a federal
lawsuit on Burk's behalf, seeking permission from the city to
protest outside the gates.
March 18: An anti-Jackson group, the Brotherhood Organization
of a New Destiny, applies for a permit to demonstrate against
March 26: Burk says at a New York City news conference that
CBS' plans to televise The Masters is an insult to women in the
U.S. armed forces.