Return to the Golf Today Home Page All the latest golf news Coverage of all the worlds major tours For all your golfing needs Golf Course Directory Out on the course Golf related travel Whats going on, message board, links and more!
Worldwide Feature Articles
Top Stories
PGA: Stephen Ames coasts to six shot win
PGA: Tiger Woods ends difficult week with 75
Euro: Van de Velde ends 13 year victory wait
Stephen Ames vaults to World No. 27
Boost for the Philippine Open
Tiger Woods misses practice to be with father

Augusta member resigns over women's issue

Protesting Augusta National Golf Club's refusal to admit a woman member, Thomas H. Wyman, former chief executive of CBS and a 25-year Augusta National member, has resigned from the club. Wyman is the only member of the ultra-exclusive club to resign since Augusta National's all-male makeup became a public issue in June.

On Monday, Wyman, 72, called the position taken by the club's leadership in recent months unacceptable and pig-headed. He estimated that as many as 75 of the roughly 300 club members also support the admission of a woman. In a Nov. 27 letter to the club's chairman, William [Hootie] Johnson, Wyman said he hoped his resignation would spur others to speak out. Augusta National plays host to the Masters tournament, broadcast by CBS.

A week earlier, Wyman had written Johnson and encouraged the club to announce it would admit a woman next year. Copies of both letters were obtained by the New York Times, as was Johnson's response to Wyman, dated Nov. 22.

Johnson wrote that he would not change his position on admitting a woman and affirmed that the overwhelming majority of members agreed with his stance. Johnson added: "I want you to also know that there is no timetable for the admission of women into our membership, nor do I expect there to be one in the foreseeable future."

On Monday, Augusta National issued a statement about Wyman's resignation. "We are disappointed that Mr. Wyman has chosen to publicize a private matter."

"I am not anxious to make this personal," Wyman said Monday. "But Hootie keeps writing that 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."

Wyman led the CBS television network from 1979 to 1986.

Wyman also said he believed CBS should support the effort to admit a woman member. "CBS could at least come out in favor of a commitment from Augusta National on the admission of a woman," Wyman said. "They have a constituency that cares about this issue and I was disappointed CBS didn't do more. They should say it is inevitable and it should happen sooner rather than later. People say that if CBS takes on Hootie they'll lose the tournament. I don't think that is so.

"CBS has had the tournament for 46 years and they are terrific at it. They have a very good relationship with the club. Now the heat is going to be on CBS. It is going to be impossible for CBS to ignore the picketing and the protests."

The dispute over Augusta National's all-male membership flared in June shortly after Martha Burk, the chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, wrote Johnson a private letter in which she urged him to admit a woman at the club. Johnson responded with a sharply worded three-page public statement, saying Augusta National would not be bullied into making membership decisions "at the point of a bayonet."

Email this page to a friend | Return to top of page