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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Tuesday, February 18, 2003
9:56 PM

Interesting excerpt from journalist Peter Boyer's New Yorker story on Martha Burk and Augusta. It concerns Thomas Wyman, the recently deceased former CBS chairman, who resigned his membership at Augusta after Hootie Johnson and the majority of Augusta's members chose not to comply with Burk's demands for a female member. Boyer has just described Wyman's admiration for the club's management style, saying "autocracy worked" if you have the right person in the job.
...But last year Wyman's life, and his view of Augusta, dramatically changed. Wyman's wife, Elizabeth, died in January. In November, Wyman married Deborah Whiting Little, whom he had known as a colleague from his days at Polaroid. Little had long since left the corporate world, and had become an Episcopal priest in Boston, ministering to the city's homeless. Little, who is in her fifties, told me that her own values are grounded in the social activism of the nineteen-sixties, and that she couldn't fully comprehend her husband's deep attachment to Augusta National. When Martha Burk's campaign made Augusta's membership policies a matter of public dispute, Tom's membership in the club became the subject of much conversation in the Wyman household.

Wyman's sons also ganged up against him. This helps explain how you move from a "deep attachment" to calling Hootie Johnson "pigheaded" and blaming the dispute on "some redneck, old-boy types down there."

UPDATE: I hadn't thought about it till just now, but I wonder if the Atlanta Journal-Constitution started trying to reach the families of Augusta members after that tidbit appeared in The New Yorker? This tactic comes to light in a letter from Augusta media consultant Jim McCarthy to the AJC; blog to come.

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