In an insolent statement to the Washington Post, the host of next year’s Master’s golf tournament refused a plea from the National Council of Women’s Organizations to open their exclusive Augusta, Georgia golf club to women. Hootie Johnson, chairman of Augusta National, lashed out at the NCWO after Martha Burk, chairwoman of the NCWO, sent him a letter that stated: “We know that Augusta National and the sponsors of the Masters do not want to be viewed as entities that tolerate discrimination against any group, including women.” The Feminist Majority is a member of NCWO, along with 160 other groups – making the total membership close to 6 million.
“Our membership alone decides our membership – not any outside group with its own agenda,” Johnson said in the three-page statement. “The message delivered to us was clearly coerciveÉWe will not be bullied, threatened or intimidated. We do not intend to become a trophy in their display case.” Johnson originally responded to Burk’s letter in a three-sentence letter in which he refused further discussion on the matter – stating that Augusta membership matters are private. Johnson said in April that Augusta does not have exclusionary membership policies, although it did not have a black member until 1990 and has had no female members in its 70-year history, the Post reported.
Burk said that the NCWO next plans to contact the sponsors of the Masters – Coca-Cola, IBM and Citigroup – to ask them not to do business with a club that has no female members, according to the Post.