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Augusta chairman recovering after surgery

Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson had heart surgery Friday and is expected to make a complete recovery.

Club spokesman Glenn Greenspan said the surgery, which had been scheduled in advance, involved a coronary artery bypass, aortic aneurism repair and aortic valve replacement.

"He's fine and resting comfortably,'' Greenspan said.

He did not disclose where the surgery took place.

The 71-year-old Johnson, who has been in charge of the Masters since becoming club chairman in 1998, is at the center of a public dispute over its all-male membership.

The National Council of Women's Organization sent a letter in June urging Augusta National to have a female member. Johnson replied in a scathing three-page statement that the 69-year-old club would not be "bullied'' into that decision.

Last month, he dropped the Masters' three television sponsors for the 2003 tournament, creating the only commercial-free sports event in the United States.

Johnson also caused a stir by overseeing a massive redesign of Augusta National for this year's Masters, and by changing the tournament qualifications to eliminate past champions after they turn 65.


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