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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Tuesday, December 24, 2002
12:02 PM

A brief word on an ESPN program last night titled something like No Women Allowed-Augusta. The title alone was misleading, since women play at Augusta routinely, and though that fact was slipped in there, I'll bet most casual viewers think women are banned from the course. They are not.

The program included Martha Burk and a variety of other semi-luminaries, none of whom were skilled advocates for the opposition. LPGA player Laura Baugh was the closest you got--a fine golfer who backs Augusta's right to free association, but she lacked the knowledge and the eloquence necessary to rebut Burk. The other Burk opponent was Ben Wright, who seems banned for life from polite society for having made offensive remarks years ago--this story says it was about lesbianism and women's golf, but I thought it had something do with some women's physical attributes limiting their ability to play. Maybe both. A former CBS sports chief offered some different perspectives but did not aim at the heart of Burk's argument. Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon talked about the unfairness of singling out Tiger Woods for a boycott of the Master's, and Burk denied ever having singled out Woods for that action. I don't believe that's true, but Burk doesn't seem to have a very high opinon of him anyway--she thinks Tiger Woods is naive.

One of the saddest moments of the program was when Wright asked if there was a statute of limitations on infractions such as his. He's apologized for it, a long time ago, and he said that a TV contract he was lined up for was denied by a female head of human resources who apparently deemed Wright unfit for public consumption--ever. (Check the link above--it mentions Wright having signed up to work the "inaugural World Club Championship, a taped event that will be shown during a two-hour telecast Dec. 11." I just don't recall if he was on the air).

Burk was pitiless regarding Wright's plight. I'll just leave it at that. Unlike other religious systems, if you sin against the feminist establishment there is often no possibility for redemption.

What the program lacked was a credible, knowledgeable advocate who could discuss the many women's institutions that for some reason are exempt from Burk's wrath against gender segregation, such as the 60 or 70 women's colleges that I help subsidize through aid supported by federal taxes. Yes, that's my hobby horse. But the point is that there are many sources who could make for a lively conversation by making the principled case for Augusta's position--The Independent Women's Forum is a good place to start. And here's what I don't get: It would have made a much more interesting, informative and educational program.

From IWF:

“Until somebody shows me women are harmed by the Augusta National Golf Club’s men-only policy, I simply don’t care if it remains an all-male club,” continues [IWF Senior Fellow Melana Zyla] Vickers. “Yes, Augusta National is a male-only institution. That hasn't’ resulted in a single woman not being able to play golf, a single woman not getting a job she sought, a single woman being denied an education, a single woman being sexually harassed.

“There is absolutely no economic or social harm that has befallen women due to Augusta National’s choice to remain an all-men’s club.”

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