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Saturday, 31 August, 2002, 19:59 GMT 20:59 UK
Ad ban for Augusta Masters
Tiger Woods celebrates his 2002 Masters win at Augusta National
Tiger Woods celebrates his 2002 Masters win
Next year's US Masters will be televised without commercials, tournament organisers at Augusta National have announced.

They are concerned that firms advertising during the broadcast could become targets for women's groups opposed to Augusta's stance on female membership.

Among the companies that would have been advertisers are are IBM, Citigroup and Coca-Cola.

According to Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson, the National Council of Women's Organisations (NCWO) has launched a corporate campaign against the Masters tournament and Augusta National in an attempt to get women admitted to the club.

Augusta National is the world's most exclusive golf club with some 300 of the richest and most influential power-brokers in the United States making up its elite membership.

No women are members and it was not until 1990 that the club admitted its first black member.


We believe that the Masters and the club are different, and that one should not affect the other
Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson

"They have now begun to pressure the media sponsors of the Masters," added Johnson.

"We have told our sponsors that we will not request their participation for the 2003 Masters," he said.

"We appreciate everything our media sponsors have done for us but, under the circumstances, we think it is important to take this step."

"We are sorry, but not surprised, to see these corporations drawn into this matter but continue to insist that our private club should not be 'managed' by an outside group.

"There may come a day when women will be invited to join our club, but that decision must be ours.

"We also believe that the Masters and the club are different, and that one should not affect the other."

Television network CBS could still be in a position to put pressure on Augusta National but that is increasingly unlikely.

Commercials are limited to four minutes each hour on US television coverage of the Masters.

Advertising revenue helped pay for the $5.5m prize fund at the Masters but with plenty of wealthy corporate leaders as members, the club is unlikely to be affected by the ad ban.

See also:

14 Apr 02 | US Masters
14 Apr 02 | US Masters
14 Apr 02 | US Masters
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