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Old 04-10-2003, 02:08 AM   #1
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Tiger vs the Masters of disaster

Anyone got a chance in hell of beating him?

Ernie Els?
Retief Goosen?
Davis Love III?
Phil Mickelson?
Adam Scott?
Martha Burk?
Jesse Jackson?

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Old 04-10-2003, 02:12 AM   #2
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Important: MASTERS - ALL First Round Discussion HERE!

to get everyone in the mood

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/10/sp...f/y10golf.html


Augusta Marches On, With Its Rules Intact

by Clifton Brown

AUGUSTA, Ga., April 9 -William Johnson spoke, but he did not budge.

On the eve of the 67th Masters, Johnson, Augusta National Golf Club's chairman, reiterated that the club was very comfortable with its men-only membership, and it had no timetable on when to invite a woman to join. So as the Masters begins Thursday, with Tiger Woods going for an unprecedented third consecutive title, the membership controversy remains intertwined with the event, with Johnson remaining clear and uncompromising about the club's position.

"If I drop dead right now, our position will not change on this issue," Johnson said during his annual Masters news conference in front of a standing-room-only throng of journalists. Johnson, who is known as Hootie, opened the news conference with a statement and expressed the same position the club has held since this controversy began last July.

"We are a private club," Johnson said, reading the statement. "Just because we host a golf tournament, because some of our members are well known, should not cause us to be viewed differently. There may well come a time when we include women as members of our club. However, I want to emphasize that we have no timetable, and our membership is very comfortable with our present status."

When he was finished with the statement, Johnson said he had nothing to add about the membership issue. Then questions came, and Johnson added plenty.

Did he think the Masters had been maligned by the ongoing controversy?

"It's been maligned," Johnson said. "But I don't think it's been damaged. I think the Masters will continue to be one of the great sporting events of the world next year and the year after and the year after and the year after."

Did Woods's statements that the club should have women as members have any influence on Johnson?

"I won't tell Tiger how to play golf if he doesn't tell us how to run our private club," Johnson said.

Will the club take any responsibility for financial losses sustained by local businesses because some people are staying away from this year's Masters?

"I think the city of Augusta has done very well with the Masters for a long, long time," Johnson said. "I think they support us in the convictions that we have about being a private club. The city of Augusta, the people of Augusta, are totally behind us."

Martha Burk, who has spearheaded the campaign to pressure Augusta National to add a woman as a member, said Johnson's comments would have no impact on her plans to protest Saturday in Augusta.

"He may be hoping that if he gets through this year, we'll eventually just go away," said Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations. "We won't go away, even if that's the impression he has. If he's comfortable with practicing discrimination, and if his members are comfortable with practicing discrimination, then all the C.E.O.'s and business leaders of his club who are comfortable with that should say so publicly. Because if they're supporting him, they're supporting discrimination."

But Johnson said he did not see running a men-only club as being discriminatory.

"Historically, I have a reputation for fighting discrimination," Johnson said. "I have a good record and I'm proud of it. But our private club does not discriminate. Single gender is an important fabric on the American scene. There are thousands and thousands all across America. Both genders. We are not discriminating. And we resent it very much when that accusation is made against us."

Because of the controversy, Johnson decided to play host to the tournament without sponsors this year, and he said the club could continue without sponsorship indefinitely.

Asked if he felt the Masters would have television sponsors next year, Johnson said, "We haven't really pursued that, but I think there's a good chance that we will."

Johnson said he did not tell CBS, which will broadcast the tournament this weekend, to avoid covering the controversy or Burk's protest. "CBS News, I expect, would present whatever news there is, but we haven't had any discussions or made any demands," Johnson said. "That will be their call."

Meanwhile, the players focused on the tournament, as they have all week, completing the final practice round under dreary skies, with midday temperatures only in the high 50's. And even before Johnson's comments, most players felt the membership issue was not something they could affect.

"I think both parties have a strong point," said Ernie Els, who has won three majors but not the Masters. "To be honest with you, I've seen many lady players out here, either playing with their husbands or friends. So there's not an issue about ladies playing this golf course. The issue is them becoming members. And for us to go to members of Augusta National telling them, 'Listen, you've got to let a lady member in here,' it's not for us to say."

So while the debate continued off the course, the tournament was set to begin, with Woods primed to make history. Johnson had his say today. But which player would have the last word Sunday?

"I've been looking forward to it since last year," Els said. "I've watched a lot of tape the last two weeks about Augusta and the Masters. I've done a lot of practicing. I'm swinging it really well. Now it's time just to go to the tee."
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Old 04-10-2003, 02:21 AM   #3
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http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/10/sp...y10hootie.html

Public and Private Distinctions

By David M. Halbfinger

AUGUSTA, Ga., April 9 - Just because a man is called Hootie, his friends say, does not mean he is a backwoods bumpkin.

Just because he insists that his golf club bar women from belonging does not, they say, make him a backward-thinking bigot.

William Johnson, the 72-year-old chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, has endured a lifetime's worth of ridicule in the nine months since he angrily rejected a demand that he admit women in time for this year's Masters, the nation's most prestigious golf tournament, which is to begin here on Thursday

"There may well come a day when women will be invited to join our membership," he thundered last July, "but that timetable will be ours, and not at the point of a bayonet."

His defiance won Johnson a fusillade of criticism, in countless and continuing headlines, punch lines and cartoons, as a benighted holdover from the Old South. But a look at his history - as a South Carolina banker and power broker who long helped blacks and women advance in business and politics - paints a more complex picture of a man who is often portrayed in caricature.

So as feminists protest outside Augusta's gates, as antifeminists and white supremacists muster their unsolicited support for Johnson's stand, as golfers and their fans and police officers watch the spectacle unfold, some of those who have known Johnson for decades say they wonder whether it all could have been avoided. What if Martha Burk, the chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, had chosen to approach Johnson without setting a deadline?

Hootie Johnson, say those people - black and white, male and female - was long known as one of the most progressive, forward-thinking white businessmen to come out of his time and place. He just does not like to be pushed.

But others say Johnson may have finally come face to face with the contradictions of a life in which he stood for equal opportunity in the public sphere at a time when many did not, yet was also at ease belonging to private clubs where South Carolina's white male elite met without blacks or Jews or women.

"He was always comfortable going both ways," said Joel A. Smith, dean of the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. "Like believing in the right to have some privacy - but in his public persona, his business persona, he thought everybody ought to have an equal shot."

The dispute over Augusta National - a private club that is host to a very public event - left him no room to finesse the distinction any more, say Johnson's friends.

Johnson, who declined to be interviewed, is as old as the golf course over whose elegant curves and greens he has presided since 1998.

William Woodward Johnson was born here in 1931, the same year that Bobby Jones broke ground on the course. At 5, a playmate called him Hootie and the name stuck. By 8, he was golfing with his father, an Augusta banker and golf lover named Dewey Johnson, at a country club next door to Augusta National. It would be 29 years before he won admission to Augusta National himself.

The Johnsons moved north to Greenwood, S.C., in 1942, when Dewey bought a small bank there and started dreaming of a statewide financial empire. But Hootie kept an eye on Augusta: in 1946, the story goes, five years before they married, he hoisted his girlfriend, Pierrine Baker, up in the air so she could see the great Ben Hogan three-putt on the 18th hole and lose the Masters by a single stroke to Herman Keiser.

Still, football, not golf, was Hootie's sport. At Greenwood High School, he and another running back, Sonny Horton, were dubbed Touchdowns Inc. At the University of South Carolina, he eventually became a star again, this time on the strength of his blocking.

Three years after graduating, at age 25, Johnson was elected to the South Carolina General Assembly. He served one term. "He was just there to get an exposure to it," said the former Gov. Robert McNair, then a ranking lawmaker, who took Johnson in tow at the Capitol and remains Johnson's lawyer and confidant.

Dewey Johnson died in 1961, and in 1965 Hootie took over the bank, which had expanded into Columbia, S.C., from his brother, who busied himself with a family textile mill. The state's youngest bank president, Johnson began romancing and acquiring smaller banks across the state.

Though he had left the Assembly, Johnson had not left politics. He just worked behind the scenes. In 1968, after three students at all-black South Carolina State College were shot in a confrontation with the police that became known as the Orangeburg Massacre, Johnson and four other white businessmen joined the Urban League chapter in Columbia. "That was a courageous move," said Elliott Franks, then the chapter's president.

Johnson also agreed to head the campaign committees for two black candidates who became the first elected to the State Legislature since 1902. "I remember him laughing about how every morning he was hearing commercials for all the black candidates, with the line, 'Hootie Johnson, chairman,' " McNair said. "It was constantly on the TV."

John West, now 80, who was McNair's lieutenant governor and successor, said Johnson "recognized early on, and was one of the few white leaders that did, that we needed to heal the breaches, to involve the blacks in the business and political world."

West added, "He not only did it but became a leader in it."

It was as a banker, however, that Johnson really made his name for promoting equality. Franks said Johnson set up a training program to hire black women as tellers and entry-level workers at what was then the State Bank & Trust Company of South Carolina. "Then Hootie used his influence to bring the majority of other banks in the city into it," Franks said. "He just said to me, as long as we're about business, no hidden agendas, everything out in the open, I'm with you and I'll do whatever I can."

Cynthia Engel, an accountant who worked at Bankers Trust of South Carolina, a later iteration of Johnson's bank, said she sought a job there in 1985 because "he promoted women when it was unheard of." She added, "I used to joke around that Hootie was always politically correct before it was politically correct to be politically correct."

Johnson's bank enforced community service in a variety of ways. He deducted donations to the United Way from employee paychecks. He sent bank officers to all-black Benedict College, where he was a trustee, to help administrators sort out their financial problems at no charge. Bill Stevens remembered being told to take care of a black minister's church loan.

"We always believed that Hootie always did the right thing," said Stevens, now president of his own bank in Greenwood. "He was so big and powerful, but still so concerned about a trainee who just came back from the Navy that he took me to lunch. He could've had lunch with the governor. He's like steel and velvet. That's my ideal of a man."

Ike Williams, who ran the South Carolina N.A.A.C.P. from 1969 to 1983, said Johnson "helped make it fashionable to contribute to the N.A.A.C.P.," and credited him with helping sway public opinion in Columbia in favor of a new method of electing City Council members that paved the way for blacks to win. In 1993, when a group of businessmen led by McNair mounted a legal effort to remove the Confederate battle flag from atop the state Capitol, Johnson was instrumental in lining up potential plaintiffs to force the issue, Richard Gergel, the lawyer who filed the suit, said.

Many of Johnson's friends look back at this history and, bewildered by his recent actions, accuse Burk of provoking him in her letter last June by asking that Augusta National admit women by this year's Masters.

"You don't give him a deadline," Stevens said. "That's like spitting in his face."

But Johnson has also had his limits and has defined over the years just how far he was willing to go. He agonized before accepting an invitation to serve on the board of the National Urban League, Franks said. And his term was brief. One official of the group said Johnson resigned quietly after Vernon E. Jordan Jr., the league's president, took a public stand in the 1970's that was "too strong for Hootie to live with."

"He was concerned about these issues in a very moderate way," the official said. "He was basically a peacekeeper. He was not at the cutting edge."

He also made accommodations that some others would not. His many years in the inner circle of the South Carolina Democratic Party came to an end in 1978, after he refused to support the Democratic challenger to Senator Strom Thurmond, the Republican incumbent, who many years earlier had run on a segregationist presidential platform.

"The Democrats tried to pressure him," recalled West, the former governor. "So he said, 'The hell with you,' and became an independent."

He has also felt comfortable with membership in exclusive clubs like the once all-white Palmetto Club, or the all-white Forest Lake, which until recently had no Jews. He has been zealous about protecting the rights of such clubs to run their own way - and about rejecting what he sees as ill-mannered assaults.

The story is often told in Columbia about how a major customer of Johnson's bank demanded admission to the Summit Club, a private club Johnson had formed at the top of the headquarters tower he had built for his bank. "Hootie said he would be happy to get him on the wait list," said Smith, then a top officer at the bank. "The guy said: 'I'm not talking about the wait list, I want to be a member today. Surely you could bump one of your junior officers and give me his membership.' And Hootie says, 'I think we've concluded our business.' "

Smith says he remains close to Johnson, and ventures a theory that Johnson sees a distinction between public and private life that has allowed him to break down barriers in one while living with them in the other.

"His sense of timing may not be the same as everybody else's," Smith said.

"Look at him from what he's done over a lifetime," Smith added, "and at times he's been way ahead of the curve, to the point that people were taken aback - and at times he wasn't. But he probably knows who he is better than anybody I've ever met."
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Old 04-10-2003, 06:20 AM   #4
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If anyone has a chance, it's Love3, if for no other reason than how he brutalized the rest of the field at the TPC. Still, with the way they set the course up, it's Tiger's green jacket to lose.
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Old 04-10-2003, 08:52 AM   #5
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I think Hootie will win. He doesn't take any guff.
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Old 04-10-2003, 10:28 AM   #6
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i am disappointed that the practice round that i had tickets for on monday was rained out. it would have been my first time at augusta national.

anyway i would be pleased to see Davis Love III or Phil Mickelson win.
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Old 04-10-2003, 12:21 PM   #7
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booooo to rain, it's postponed the first round too
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Old 04-10-2003, 12:24 PM   #8
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the weather has sucked all week here! we should hopefully see some sun tomorrow evening at 7PM oh well the azaleas and dogwoods are in full bloom, no doubt that the course will look magnificent, it always does.
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Old 04-10-2003, 05:38 PM   #9
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did you just booo rain?
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Old 04-10-2003, 05:40 PM   #10
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i love to boo
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Old 04-10-2003, 05:41 PM   #11
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The philly fanatic will win
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Old 04-10-2003, 06:57 PM   #12
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they sent us home! we could not even enter the grounds. got up at 5AM to drive down to Augusta to be there by 8AM and ended up standing in a long line to hear "we are not allowing anyone to enter due to the weather. we will re-evaluate the ground conditions at 1PM" so me and my brother, father and nephew got back into my dad's suv and drove back home. oh well better luck next time.
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Old 04-10-2003, 07:01 PM   #13
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hey you can watch 36 holes worth tomorrow!
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Old 04-10-2003, 07:03 PM   #14
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i have to work tomorrow.
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Old 04-10-2003, 07:09 PM   #15
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boooooo to work
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