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Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 13:19 GMT
Should Woods take tougher stance?
Tiger Woods has played down his row with Augusta
Tiger Woods believes the decision to allow women to join Augusta National Golf Club should be left to the membership.

Should Woods use his fame to force Augusta into change?

HAVE YOUR SAY

An editorial in Monday's New York Times suggested Woods should boycott the 2003 US Masters in protest at the club's continuing refusal to admit female members.

The paper suggested that if the Masters took place without the world number one in attendance, it would force the club into reconsidering its stance.

Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson is adamant that a woman will not be among the 300 members at Augusta by the start of the Masters in April.

Should Woods use his influence and take a tougher stance? And should he even boycott the Masters?


This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appears below.


This issue is a grave embarrassment, I am sure, to most women golfers and please do not interpret Ms. Burke's demands as representative of our majority stance. Augusta is a private club, a venue comparable to golf's Mecca and please let's keep it as such. Stop whining, Martha, and let us all enjoy Tiger at Augusta.
Heather Woolf, Bermuda

Oh - the famous benefactor Mr Woods! The man who earns millions and millions by wearing a baseball cap with swoosh on it, while his "co-workers" (many of them children) at sweatshops in Southeast Asia live in extreme poverty and suffer stress and exhaustion from overwork.
Sami Huttunen, Finland

This just proves that Tiger Woods is a fake. When he came on the scene his father Earl Woods said he would have an impact on the world we live in. What IMPACT? What has Tiger Woods done apart from playing good golf, NOTHING.

When people compare him to Muhammad Ali, the comparisons end when you discuss their dominance in their chosen sports. Ali was much more, he was a spokesperson and hero to millions of blacks around the world, not because he was a great boxer but because he spoke his mind and sacrificed his wealth for his beliefs.

Can you imagine Tiger Woods making a social statement? He is more worried about pleasing his sponsors in case they don't terminate their contracts. Tiger Woods is a great golfer and that is it.
Amjad Khan, England


If you don't agree with Augusta's policy, don't watch the Masters tournament and don't visit the place
Paul, USA
This shouldn't even be an issue. Tiger has no role in this what so ever. He is simply a player, nothing more, nothing less. Augusta National is steeped in tradition and has progressed in its own time.

The women's rights lobby just needs to back off and allow things to take their course.
Rick B, USA

I understand the sentiment, the ambassador of golf leading the discrimination battle - after all, he has had his own battles to fight and he carries weight. But surely the onus is on organisers of golf tournaments to not use golf clubs to host events where discrimination exists at the club...even when that golf club is the Augusta National!
Helen Emms, England

Funny how you never see men protesting because they cannot be admitted to a club or school that only allows female members. Private clubs and schools have the right to determine whom they admit. If it were supported by public funding, then the issue would be different, but it isn't.

If you don't agree with Augusta's policy, don't watch the Masters tournament and don't visit the place. That is one's right. But one does not have the right to impose that position on another.
Paul, USA


Woods should stand up and be counted against discrimination of any sort
Devinder Sharma, England

Quite what Tiger Woods has got to do with it is beyond me. I ask you all this, what woman would want to join anyway in a club she's not welcome in? What sport or club do us guys try and muscle in on that is invented by women? This is a private club, period. I am sure all the members love their mothers and wives, but does that mean that have to play golf with them?
Gary, Hong Kong

Tiger Woods is a fantastic ambassador of the game. He has made the game cool and is attracting many newcomers to golf. However, when it comes to membership rules the decision should be left to the club. He is right for not getting involved, and he should not be pressured to.
Simon Connor, Singapore

Woods should stand up and be counted against discrimination of any sort, be it colour or sex. Had such pressure not been brought to bear, a few years ago he would not have been allowed to play there.
Devinder Sharma, England

Putting all of this in Tiger's court is a trifle unfair. The PGA should play the Masters outside of Augusta and not support clubs who patently discriminate against blacks, jews, women or anybody else for that matter.

The horrible fudge when one black person was invited to join a few years back was an embarrassment all around and did not solve the problem of white southern fogeyism at Augusta.
Robin Chakraborty, England


This is unabashed leftist media intrusion!
Tom Baird, USA

The PGA of America should be taking a stance against Augusta. It is unfair to expect any single player to boycott the PGA's choice of event venue.
Alan Sheridan, England

Not for the first time, someone in Tiger's position has been drawn into making comments that the media would like to feed off like vultures. Rightly so, he should not play any part in this game being played out by attention seeking individuals.

Tiger is too smart to enter these silly arguments. These people really need to get a life.
John Kirkham, New Zealand

Woods handled the pressure well. It is a private club, not a public course. It is up to the membership to decide. It's nice for men to have a place to be guys and talk about guy things without having to be on their guard. The same goes for women.
Matt Deveney, USA

It is about time people realised that Augusta and the Tour are bigger than Mr Woods, and will be around long after he has sunk his last putt. This being the case, just let the guy play golf and stop trying to rope him into being a mouthpiece for every narrow agenda pressure group which wants to abuse his "African-American" influence.
Darren, United Kingdom

I think Tiger said all that needs to be said. He thinks women ought to be allowed to be members. But he does not have a vote as an honorary member. Hey, the guy wants to be the best golfer in history, give him the leeway to do it his way. We don't need another civil rights hero. This is unabashed leftist media intrusion!
Tom Baird, USA

Robert, USA, is missing the point. The issue under debate here is not whether Augusta is right or wrong. The point is that it is not the place of the New York Times, you, me or anyone else to volunteer Tiger Woods' services, let alone condemn him if he refuses.


In all of the press about this issue, I have yet to hear of any man demanding to join an all-womens' golf club
Kristine, USA

Just because he is one of the world's leading sporting figures does not mean he is compelled to be the mouthpiece of every armchair revolutionary with an axe to grind. Let the man run his own life.
Alan, UK

Just because Tiger is a minority in America doesn't mean he has to pledge support for every minority cause. It's not his responsibilty to jump on every bandwagon.
Nick, New York, USA

You have got to be kidding. Are all these supposed men writing in to admonish to PGA, Tiger Woods and August National living in a cave? In the US we have the RIGHT to have private clubs, as the National Organization of Women's Groups I'm sure know.

There are many private women's groups and clubs that don't allow men. Why is this right to private clubs suddenly seen as "the dark ages?". The PC crowd is running amok on this issue, all in the name of equality.

Private clubs have nothing to do with inequality, they are all about privacy, which is one of the principles on which this country (US) was founded. Hold your ground Tiger.
John Robertson, USA

In all of the press about this issue, I have yet to hear of any man demanding to join an all-womens' golf club. They do exist in the United States. Why can women choose to freely associate within a gender-based club, but men cannot?


If the club didn't let blacks in, everyone would be up in arms
Robert, USA

If Martha Burke wants to end gender discrimination in private clubs, why isn't she going after the fraternities and sororities in our colleges and universities? There is a place for gender-based private clubs in a non-discriminatory world.

I would suggest that Mr. Woods ignore Ms. Burke and The New York Times and that Ms. Burke find something worthwhile to fight for.
Kristine, USA

Augusta is a private club, and should decide for itself whether it admits women or not. In fact, I read an article here today saying that 80% of Americans support Hootie Johnson on this case.

The media have just blown the whole thing out of proportion. As for Tiger Woods, he should not be bothered at all, he would never boycott Augusta as quite rightly all he wants to do is win the Green Jacket.
James, USA

You've got to be kidding! If the club didn't let blacks in, everyone would be up in arms. Of course Tiger should put his influence behind this issue and force the club to wake up.

Why is it ok to discriminate against women while folks rail at any other discrimination? Just another example of society's push to keep women on the lower rung.
Robert, USA


Why Woods alone? Why not question the complacency of the entire PGA?
Anon, UK

I think that Tiger Woods' non-action on this issue is appropriate. I believe Martha Burke and the NCWO would be better served promoting womens' golf and proactively representing their consticuency rather than continuing a fight with one 300 member private club.

Real issues that effect the quality of women's lives exist and should be their focus, not this non-issue.
Eric Denney, US

Why Woods alone? Why not question the complacency of the entire PGA?
Anon, UK

There are much larger problems in this world than whether women can golf at an exclusive club. It's not a gender issue anyhow, as I am sure I could not join. Tiger need not get involved in this sillyness.
Wayne, Canada

Tiger can boycott the Masters if he feels like it, but the only thing that will stop the event from taking place is if ALL the players decide to stay away, not just Tiger.
Jeffrey Gooding, USA

Of course Augusta has the right to decide their membership. Likewise, the public has the right to deplore sexism and to berate those who practice it. We will pressure sponsors, networks, and even players like Woods until Augusta leaves the dark ages or loses its status.


Tiger Woods should take a stand on this issue for no other reason than the fact that he can
Andrew Smith, US

If Mr. Woods and other top players avoid playing at clubs run by bigots, Hootie and his type will cease their backwards discrimination much sooner. Take the high road-- boycott the status quo.
Dr Cleven, USA

The media loves to drive a wedge between fame and lame causes. What part of the term "private club" don't they understand?
Norm Carter, US

Tiger Woods should take a stand on this issue for no other reason than the fact that he can.
Andrew Smith, US

Leave Woods alone. Is it not enough that courses are being changed to make it difficult for him to win Majors? Back off and let him get on with what he does best and do not use him as a political pawn. Why is it that this pressure is not/was not put on Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus or any of the great white golfers?
Woody Yarde, UK

It is sad but true that politics and sport are entwined, but this editorial is nonsensical. It is not up to anyone except the members to decide. Tiger has more than enough on his plate than to get entwined in this stupid political correctness gone mad.
Chris White, Germany


I don't care whether or not Augusta has female members - I do care when people try to erode constitutional rights based on political correctness
Martin, USA

I agree with Brian, this is not Woods' business but that of the Augusta Club, which is private and belongs to their full members. It is entirely at their discretion as to who they admit as members and should remain so.
Michael Peel, Netherlands

I personally believe this is a matter with which Tiger Woods should not concern himself with. He is a professional and needs to concentrate on winning another Major. I believe women should certainly be allowed to join the Augusta National, however, the withdrawal of Tiger Woods would only be a backwards step for both himself and the tournament!
Luther, UK

It is not a question of discrimination; rather it is about the right to freely associate. Private clubs, business partnerships and a host of societies all restrict membership on some criteria whether the public likes it or not.

Moreover, Augusta Golf Club does not receive any public monies so there is no recourse for government action. It appears that those outside agencies pressing for change would rather use the tools of economic blackmail and public outrage when it is obvious a legal challenge would be fruitless.

I don't care whether or not Augusta has female members - I do care when people try to erode constitutional rights based on political correctness. Augusta's policies may be outdated but, in this country, I will defend their right to congregate in any way the membership deems fit.
Martin, USA


If the New York Times is in the mood to make a gesture, perhaps they should refuse to cover the event and allow Woods to take their own decisions
Alan McLachlan, UK

Tiger Woods should be left to make up his own mind and decide on his own course of action, be it related to Augusta's membership policy or to any other issue. He should not have to put up with having presumptious back-seat drivers trying to use him as a pawn in their games, nor should he then have to justify himself to the media when he refuses to allow himself to be manipulated.

If the New York Times is in the mood to make a gesture, perhaps they should refuse to cover the event and allow Woods (and everyone else for that matter) to take their own decisions.
Alan McLachlan, UK

I have nothing against women golfers. In fact, I intend to watch the year's final tournament in Palm Beach this coming weekend. But allowing women to become members of Augusta?

Some aspects of life should remain male and some should remain female. Sould men be allowed to become nuns and join a convent? Should men be allowed to join exclusively female fitness centres? I think not! So leave Augusta alone.
Neil, USA

Leave Woods alone. Every time a black person achieves something the majority tend to overburden them with expectations which they would not impose on one of their own.

Why don't you ask Goosen to boycott, or Els or Mickelson. You can't possible demand that Woods take the heat for all this.
Brian, Zimbabwe/USA

See also:

19 Nov 02 | Golf
12 Nov 02 | Golf
31 Aug 02 | Golf
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