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Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 11:44 GMT
Augusta member quits in protest
Hootie Johnson of the Augusta National Club
Johnson is standing by his controversial decision
A retired American television executive has resigned from Augusta National Golf Club in protest at the club's refusal to admit women members.

Thomas H Wyman, former chief executive of CBS, has been a member of Augusta for 25 years but believes its continuing policy of not allowing women members was unacceptable.

And he called the club's chairman Hootie Johnson "pig-headed".

Johnson said Augusta would accept women members only when the club was ready.


There are a lot of very thoughtful, rational people in the membership and they feel as strongly as I do
Thomas H Wyman

But Wyman believes a quarter of the 300 club members already supported the admission of women.

"I am not anxious to make this personal," Wyman told the New York Times.

"But Hootie keeps writing there has not been a single case of protest in the membership. And he absolutely believes this will all go away.

"It will not go away and it should not. I know there is a large number of members, at least 50 to 75, who believe it is inevitable that there will be and should be a woman member.

"There are obviously some redneck, old-boy types down there, but there are a lot of very thoughtful, rational people in the membership and they feel as strongly as I do."

Augusta issued a statement regarding Wyman's resignation.

"We are disappointed that Mr. Wyman has chosen to publicise a private matter," said club spokesman Glenn Greenspan.

"While we respect the fact that there are differences of opinion on this issue, we intend to stand firm behind our right to make what are both appropriate and private membership choices."

The debate over Augusta's all-male membership escalated in July when Johnson denounced Martha Burk and the National Council of Women's Organizations for demanding a female member by the next Masters.

But Wyman was hoping some of golf's legendary names will back his decision.

"Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus could be very helpful with their voices," he said.

"It would be nice if they came out and said: 'Why can't there be a woman member?'"

See also:

19 Nov 02 | Sports Talk
19 Nov 02 | Golf
31 Aug 02 | Golf
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