Tour quiet on Augusta issues
Despite continued pressure to take
a tougher stance, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem yesterday refused to criticize
Augusta National's all-male membership policy or cut ties with the Masters.
is a step we are not prepared to take," said Finchem, addressing the topic
in his annual season-ending news conference on the state of the PGA Tour during
the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
In recent weeks, as Augusta National has
refused to comment or to budge on the matter, Martha Burk, head of the National
Council of Women's Organizations, has increasingly tried to pressure the club
by going after the PGA Tour and the corporations that sponsor the Masters.
Finchem's remarks yesterday, Burk was not at a loss for words.
I were his board, I would be asking who he works for: Augusta National or the
PGA Tour?" she said. "Clearly, the position he has taken is going to
be an apologist for Augusta."
Before yesterday, the commissioner's
only comments on the issue were made in an Aug. 20 letter to Burk that he made
public. In the letter, he said the PGA Tour does not have a contract with the
Georgia club and cannot force it to change its membership policy. He also said
the tour does not plan to stop recognizing the Masters as one of golf's four major
Yesterday, Finchem declined to be drawn into a debate over
the club's policy. And he would not elaborate on any conversations he has had
with Augusta National or with corporations that sponsor the Masters or any of
the 49 sanctioned PGA Tour events.
"I know you're going to try to move
me out of the confines of my statement," Finchem said. "You are not
going to be successful."
Later, however, he added: "As far as
I know, there's going to be a tournament at Augusta - the Masters - and it's going
to be on CBS television, and our players are going to play. What else happens,
I'm not going to speculate on that."
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