HOOTIE vs. MARTHA TIMELINE
This is an article from the April 8, 2003 issue
APRIL 11, 2002 On the first day of the Masters, USA Today quotes
Johnson as saying, "We have no exclusionary policies as far as
our membership is concerned." Sports columnist Christine Brennan
writes that Lloyd Ward, an African-American who is CEO of the
U.S. Olympic Committee and an Augusta member, plans to lobby the
club to add a woman member.
JUNE 12 Having read the newspaper stories about Augusta, Burk
sends a private letter to Johnson demanding that he "open [his]
membership to women now, so that this is not an issue when the
tournament is staged next year."
JULY 8 In a terse reply to Burk, Johnson says, "I have found your
letter's several references to discrimination, allusions to
sponsors and your setting of deadlines to be both offensive and
coercive. Any further communication between us would not be
JULY 9 Johnson releases Burk's letter and a statement to the
press. In a three-page release, he says, "We will not be bullied,
threatened or intimidated ... at the point of a bayonet." Johnson
says he is prepared for an anti-Augusta campaign in which members
would be referred to as "insensitive bigots" and sponsors of the
Masters would be threatened by "boycotts and other economic
pressures." He also foresees picketing, Internet protests and
inflammatory mail being directed at the club.
JULY 11 Two corporate sponsors, Coca-Cola and IBM, as well as CBS
and the PGA Tour, issue statements saying that it is
inappropriate for them to comment on Augusta's membership
policies. Says Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, "I don't think it's
for us to be concerned about. We don't have a contractual
obligation with Augusta National."
JULY 16 At a press conference in East Lothian, Scotland, two days
before the British Open, Tiger Woods is asked about the gender
fight at Augusta National. "[The members] are entitled to set up
their own rules the way they want them," he says. "It would be
nice to see everyone have an equal chance to participate if they
wanted to, but there is nothing you can do about it. It's
unfortunate, but it's just the way it is."
JULY 17 Woods's picture appears on the back page of the New York
Post with the headline: HYPOCRITE-TWO-FACED TIGER SAYS AUGUSTA
HAS 'RIGHT' TO BAN WOMEN.
JULY 18 Burk blasts Woods for not taking a stronger stance.
"Tiger Woods is uniquely positioned to help make changes and
should reconsider his notion that nothing can be done," she tells
The Washington Post.
JULY 21 Burk is tougher on Woods in The New York Times. "We will
not take the view that some have: 'Tiger has spoken and now it's
over.' It is not over. For all my respect for him, Tiger is naive
when it comes to changing course."
JULY 30 The NCWO asks Masters sponsors Citigroup, Coca-Cola and
IBM, as well as Cadillac, which provides cars for players and
officials, to end their association with the tournament.
AUG. 7 On tigerwoods.com, Woods clarifies his position on
Augusta: "Would I like to see women members? Yes, that would be
great, but I am only one voice. Everyone has to understand that
Augusta isn't quick to change. No matter what I or the press
says, they do things at their own pace ... and won't buckle to
AUG. 20 In a letter to Burk, Finchem says, "[The Masters] is
recognized around the world as a major championship ... and is a
significant part of the structure of professional golf. We must
continue to recognize the Masters tournament as one of
professional golf's major championships."
AUG. 30 Johnson drops the Masters' three sponsors--Citigroup,
Coca-Cola and IBM--and says the telecast of the 2003 tournament
will be commercial-free, costing the club an estimated $20
million. "Augusta National is [the NCWO's] true target," Johnson
says. "It is therefore unfair to put the Masters' media sponsors
in the position of having to deal with this pressure. It's not
SEPT. 1 Burk says she plans to pressure CBS to drop its coverage
of the Masters. Network spokesperson Leslie Anne Wade declines to
comment except to say, "CBS will broadcast the Masters next year."
SEPT. 4 IBM, caught by surprise by Johnson, nevertheless
maintains that supporting the Masters is not the same as
supporting Augusta National. Burk receives approval from the
NCWO's 10-member board of directors to appeal to CBS and USA
Network not to broadcast the tournament.
SEPT. 13 Johnson, 71, undergoes successful coronary-artery-bypass
surgery. The club refuses to divulge any details.
SEPT. 19 Sean McManus, the president of CBS Sports, tells Burk
that not televising the Masters "would be a disservice to fans of
this major championship." CBS will split the $2 million
production costs with Augusta.
SEPT. 20 A team of 18 reporters and researchers at The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution compile and publish the names of 68 Augusta
members, including former Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird,
former Secretary of State George Schultz, former General Electric
CEO Jack Welch and beer baron Peter Coors.
SEPT. 27 USA Today publishes the names of almost 300 members,
along with their ages, employers and the states in which they
reside, and insiders reportedly suspect Ward of leaking the
information. The newspaper attempted to contact everyone on the
list, but only one member spoke on the record, Representative Amo
Houghton (R., N.Y.), who is up for reelection in November. "You
can't have an issue like this hit the papers and be an ostrich. I
don't know what [Johnson] is thinking," Houghton says.
SEPT. 28 Seven influential club members receive letters from
Burk. They are: Houghton, Ward, former U.S. senator Sam Nunn,
American Express chairman Kenneth Chenault, Citigroup CEO Sanford
Weill, Motorola CEO Christopher Galvin and J.P. Morgan Chase CEO
William B. Harrison.
SEPT. 29 The Times reports that about a dozen members,
embarrassed by the publicity, seek a compromise with Burk. Says
one of them, "We ought to be left to make our own policy, but
there is a line painted in the sand now."
SEPT. 30 Burk widens her campaign against what she calls
"corporate hypocrisy" by sending a second batch of letters to
seven more club members who are CEOs or chairmen of major
OCT. 4 Citigroup's Weill becomes the first executive to
support--however tepidly--the women's group. The company's public
affairs director releases a statement saying that Weill "will
continue to engage in what he hopes will be a constructive
dialogue on this issue."
OCT. 8 American Express's Chenault becomes the second
African-American member of Augusta to back the NCWO.
OCT. 16 Woods suggests that Burk and Johnson meet to resolve the
matter. "There's no substitute for looking someone in the eye,"
Woods says. He predicts that Augusta will have a female member by
the 2003 Masters.
OCT. 30 A day after Burk asked him to cut the Tour's ties with
the Masters, Finchem, in his annual state of the Tour speech,
refuses to do so.
OCT. 31 Burk says if nothing changes at Augusta, she plans to
protest outside the gates of the club during Masters week.
NOV. 2 At the USOC's meeting in Colorado Springs to decide
whether New York or San Francisco will bid for the 2012 Summer
Games, the executive committee also sets up a special meeting to
discuss the propriety of Ward's membership at Augusta. After
deliberating for two hours behind closed doors, the panel
releases a brief statement: "In light of Lloyd's principled
position on the issue, and his commitment to the inclusion of
women, the executive committee has commended him and expressed
NOV. 4 Johnson breaks his four-month silence, meeting
individually with representatives from the Times, the AP, The
Augusta Chronicle and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED at the club. The news
organizations are each given an hour to interview Johnson and
agree to embargo their interviews until 9 p.m. (EST) on Nov. 11.
NOV. 11 ESPN.com breaks the embargo by running the AP's
2,087-word Q&A with Johnson in the afternoon, in which he says
the club has no intention of admitting a female member by April,
that it has no timetable for doing so and that 99% of the
membership agrees with him.
NOV. 12 In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, Johnson writes,
"The notion that Augusta National is an enclave of sexist good
old boys is ludicrous," and that the club will continue in its
"resolve not to be told what to do by an individual who knows
nothing about us."
NOV. 13 Johnson releases a national opinion poll that shows
widespread support for the club. The 48-question survey,
conducted by WomanTrend, a division of the Washington, D.C.-based
Polling Co., shows that 74% of the respondents support keeping
the club all-male. The poll is discredited by many independent
observers as being biased, and later in the month an AP poll
shows respondents more evenly divided.
NOV. 15 The Reverend Jesse Jackson, president of the Rainbow/PUSH
Coalition, says he will also lead a protest at Augusta National
during the Masters.
NOV. 18 The Times publishes an editorial proposing that Tiger
Woods, the two-time defending champion, skip the 2003 Masters,
saying, "A tournament without Mr. Woods would send a powerful
message that discrimination isn't good for the golfing business."
NOV. 19 Woods, in Japan for the Dunlop Phoenix Open, says he will
not boycott the Masters and is annoyed at being asked to "give up
an opportunity no one has ever had--winning the Masters three
years in a row."
NOV. 20 LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw breaks rank with the golf
establishment and slams Augusta, saying, "It is Augusta's right
as a private organization not to admit women, but it is not the
right thing to do."
NOV. 22 Thomas Wyman, the retired chief executive of CBS and
longtime Augusta National member who had written Johnson asking
him to admit a woman, gets a reply in a letter from Johnson: the
club will not change its position.
NOV. 26 Woods says Johnson called to correct him: There was no
chance Augusta would admit a woman by the 2003 Masters.
NOV. 27 Wyman tells the Times that at least 50 to 75 members want
a woman admitted into the club. He calls Augusta's leadership
"pigheaded" and resigns his membership. "There are obviously some
redneck, old-boy types down there," Wyman says, "but there are a
lot of very thoughtful, rational people in the membership and
they feel as strongly as I do."
DEC. 4 The Times kills two columns in the sports section--by Dave
Anderson and Harvey Araton--because they differ with the paper's
editorial stance on Woods and Augusta.
DEC. 6 USA Today reports that crisis-management expert Jim
McCarthy has been hired by Augusta National. The same day, it is
learned that Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates has been admitted.
DEC. 8 The Times runs revised versions of its two spiked columns.
Anderson writes that Woods "is not obliged to take a sociological
stand. It's not his responsibility." Araton's column questions
the importance of the Augusta controversy.
DEC. 9 Secretary of the Treasury nominee John Snow resigns his
Augusta membership. During a White House press briefing on Snow,
the first three questions pertain to Snow's decision to become
the second Augusta member to resign.
DEC. 11 Representative Houghton, the only member of Congress who
belongs to Augusta, deflects pressure from political opponents to
resign by calling his membership a "personal issue."
DEC. 12 The Washington Post reports that Billy Morris, publisher
of The Augusta Chronicle and an Augusta member, had ordered
editors to move a feature about Burk off the front page of the
paper and onto page 10, and killed an accompanying sidebar.
Meanwhile, Burk calls on George Schultz to quit the club. "You
are under an absolute obligation to articulate the public values
this country stands for, and one of those is that discrimination
ought not to be tolerated," Burk says. Schultz does not respond,
but when his wife, Charlotte Swig, is reached at home by the San
Francisco Chronicle, she says she is having a dinner party and is
in the middle of a toast. "Oh boy," Swig says, "I'll have to call
DEC. 17 The NCWO launches augustadiscriminates.org to coincide
with Burk's 12-minute interview on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant
DEC. 20 McCarthy blows the whistle on Gumbel, who did not
disclose on-air that he is a member of Burning Tree Country Club,
an all-male club in Bethesda, Md. Gumbel's objectivity is
questioned by several newspaper columnists. HBO president Ross
Greenburg defends Gumbel's nondisclosure, saying, "Everyone would
have assumed any question out of Bryant's mouth was a personal
JAN. 1, 2003 Augusta-Richmond County sheriff Ronnie Strength
announces that protesters will not be allowed on Washington Road,
the main thoroughfare in front of Augusta National.
JAN. 8 Wyman dies from complications of an abdominal infection.
He was 73.
JAN. 10 Virgis Colbert, the executive vice president of the
Miller Brewing Company, becomes Augusta's seventh
JAN. 19 The Washington Post publishes a letter to the editor from
McCarthy, who attacks Post golf writer Leonard Shapiro, alleging
a "pattern of unbalanced, opinionated reporting." McCarthy says
the newspaper repackaged "old news as imminent or even
speculative news." McCarthy also slams the Post for printing
"Martha Burk's every utterance and rumination."
JAN. 21 A proposal before the Augusta-Richmond County Commission
that requires at least 30 days' notice from anyone wishing to
stage a demonstration fails to pass when the five black
commissioners vote no and the five white commissioners vote yes.
Mayor Bob Young is out of town and unavailable to cast a deciding
JAN. 28 Greg Norman, a three-time runner-up at the Masters,
receives a letter from Johnson informing him that he will not be
offered an invitation to play this year. Johnson does invite
Norman to the tournament as a guest of the club, but Norman
declines. "There's no point in me going up there," he says, "not
with this Martha Burk business going on."
FEB. 3 By another 5-5 vote, the Augusta-Richmond County
Commission again fails to pass an ordinance on demonstrations,
this one requiring protesters to file for a permit 20 days in
advance. Mayor Young, who is white, votes in favor of the
ordinance, but there is no majority because one of the white
commissioners is absent.
FEB. 8 The USOC disciplines Ward by withholding the $184,800
bonus he was due to receive. As for Augusta, a deflated Ward
says, "I will not change Augusta. Augusta has to change itself."
FEB. 13 The Journal-Constitution runs a letter to the editor from
McCarthy attacking the paper's "obsessive" and "ideologically
driven" coverage of the membership controversy. McCarthy also
accuses the paper of harassing relatives of members by phoning
them at home and describes lead golf writer Glenn Sheeley's
stories as "nerve-rankling."
FEB. 16 Johnson celebrates his 72nd birthday.
FEB. 18 The Augusta-Richmond County Commission votes 6-5 to
require protesters to apply for a permit at least 20 days in
advance. The five white commissioners plus Mayor Young support
the law, which also gives the Richmond County sheriff the power
to deny an application based on safety issues.
FEB. 19 The Georgia director of the American Civil Liberties
Union announces its opposition to the amended city law, saying it
has numerous Constitutional problems and gives too much power to
FEB. 22 Two people apply for demonstration permits in support of
Augusta National's all-male membership: Allison Price, an Augusta
businesswoman who started a group called Women Against Martha
Burk, and Todd Manzi, a Tampa man who launched the website
FEB. 25 Burk says she will file for a permit but expects her
request to be rejected since she wants to demonstrate outside the
gates of Augusta National.
FEB. 26 The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, headed by Jackson, requests
an application for a protest permit. Meanwhile, Price is granted
permission to protest five miles from the club on April 6, five
days before the tournament starts.
FEB. 28 J.J. Harper, Imperial Wizard of the American White
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, requests an application for a permit
to protest in support of the club's membership policy based upon
the members' right to assemble. Says Harper, a Cordele, Ga.,
resident, "We don't want Jesse Jackson in our state." Meanwhile,
Jackson appears on CNN's Crossfire to promote a new theory that
the Masters, which is played on the site of a former plantation,
is named for "white male slavemasters."
MARCH 4 Georgia governor Sonny Perdue says Augusta members want
to include women but don't want to look as if they are buckling
to outside pressure. "From what I'm hearing, they want to do the
right thing. They just feel a little trapped right now," Perdue
tells the Journal-Constitution.
MARCH 5 In a four-paragraph letter to Perdue, Johnson says, "For
the governor of our state to suggest that we should capitulate to
special interest groups when the Constitution is on our side and
we have done nothing wrong is a bit surprising and very
MARCH 6 Burk submits two applications for a permit to demonstrate
in Augusta. One request is for 200 protesters across the street
from the main gate of the club on Masters Saturday. The second,
also for Saturday, calls for 24 more protesters on both sides of
the main entrance.
MARCH 8 Golfweek reports that on the eve of the Masters, Supreme
Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will be named Augusta
National's first female member. The story is picked up by several
news services. Meanwhile, 10 members of the National Coalition of
Free Men, chanting, "Just say no to Burk!" and brandishing HOORAY
FOR HOOTIE! signs, protest outside a hotel in McLean, Va., where
Burk is delivering a speech.
MARCH 10 Club spokesman Glenn Greenspan ridicules the Golfweek
story. "That report is completely erroneous," he says.
MARCH 12 Sheriff Strength denies Burk's permit requests and
offers an alternate site a third of a mile away, which Burk
rejects. The Georgia ACLU files a federal lawsuit on her behalf.
MARCH 17 Burk and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition say a full-scale
showdown will be reduced if the U.S. invades Iraq.
MARCH 18 At Bay Hill, Woods says, "I think [the Masters] has
become not just about a golf tournament anymore."
MARCH 21 McCarthy calls Burk a "bomb-thrower" in The Scotsman, a
national newspaper in Scotland. Says McCarthy, "Even a blind
drive-by shotgunner is going to hit a target once in a while."
MARCH 26 Burk and New York City Council member Gale Brewer hold a
news conference in Manhattan, with Brewer introducing a
resolution urging CBS to not broadcast the Masters. Burk uses the
war in Iraq to promote her cause: "Showcasing a club that
discriminates against women is an insult to the nearly
quarter-million women in the U.S. armed forces," she says. "It's
appalling that the women who are willing to lay down their lives
for democratic ideals should be shut out of this club."
MARCH 27 Royal and Ancient Golf Club secretary Peter Dawson
receives a letter from British cabinet minister Tessa Jowell
urging that all-male clubs hosting the British Open be "open to
both sexes." Royal St. George and Royal Troon, sites of the 2003
and '04 British Opens, respectively, are all-male. Meanwhile,
Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, both members of Augusta
National, sneak in a practice round at the club.
MARCH 28 Representative John Lewis (D., Ga.) and 12 other members
of the U.S. House of Representatives say they plan to introduce a
bill resolving that no member of Congress, federal judge or
political appointee belong to a club that discriminates on the
basis of sex or race. "As America's leaders, we must guide the
way to a country without discrimination," says Representative
Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.). "Augusta National proves that
discrimination against women not only exists but that people are
willing to accept it." That day, Nicklaus, 63, confirms that he
will play in his 43rd Masters.
MARCH 29 Eleven months after ruling that past champions over 65
could no longer play in the Masters, Johnson reverses himself.
Palmer, 73, who had previously announced that 2002 would be his
last Masters, says he will return for a 49th straight year.
Meanwhile, a U.S. circuit court judge, Dudley Bowen, says he will
hear Burk's case concerning a protest site on April 2.
MARCH 31 Reflecting the mood of the country, the Smith &
Wollensky steak house takes out a full-page ad in the Times
offering Burk and Johnson the use of any of the chain's
restaurants to sit down and settle their dispute. "We can seat
more than 400," the ad says. "So, Martha and Hootie, you're
welcome to bring your entire entourage of attorneys, p.r. flaks,
spinmeisters and anyone else critical to the process."
THE WARD WATCH
In an Oct. 7 letter to Burk, Ward promises "to aggressively work
for reform" at Augusta.
THE WARD WATCH
"This 'changing from the inside' is nonsense," says the USOC's
Herb Perez on Oct. 25.
THE WARD WATCH
Senator Barbara Boxer to Ward, on Jan. 28: Produce results at
Augusta or quit the club.
THE WARD WATCH
Boxer, on Feb. 13: Augusta is "contrary to the spirit of the
Olympics." March 1: Ward quits USOC.