Mar 29, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT
In his piece on March 17 about how Tiger Woods’ return to the Masters is a cheap shot at women, New York Daily News sports columnist Filip Bondy was missing an important ingredient: Martha Burk. She’s the one, of course, who spearheaded the big protest at Augusta National in 2003, decrying the club’s policy of excluding women as members. Woods was caught up in the controversy then — refusing to honor Burk’s request to skip the event — and it seems that he is caught up this time as well. Bondy finally tracked down Burk, and today writes about her feelings on Woods’ return to the Masters. Excerpt:
“I think this is a safe haven for (Woods),” Burk says. “They’re all chauvinists themselves. It’s a perfect fit. He’ll be welcomed. These people have a fundamental disregard for women. What produced Tiger Woods as we now know him goes back a long way. He played a lot of golf at a Houston club, Lochinvar, that didn’t let women in.”
Ha. This is getting good.
In his earlier column, Bondy wrote of Woods’ decision to make his comeback at the Masters:
It’s a decision that suggests a continued lack of moral compass, but makes considerable logistical sense. Augusta members, about 300 of them, will surely embrace their wayward superstar and hold at bay all reminders of a real world. This is headquarters for the good old boys of golf and, after all, good old boys have been known to stray.
Burk would seem to agree.
“The timetable raises questions about how repentant (Woods) is,” Burk says. “He’s got many hard-core fans who never believe he can do much of anything wrong, who blame the victim. But guys like him who are so ego-driven, they are completely capable of a public apology that is completely empty.
“When I looked at him on TV, he looked pretty sick to his stomach,” Burk says. “Is it false redemption. I hope (Elin, his wife) doesn’t validate him by coming. It’s still pretty early in the process. If his handlers have any sense, they’ll just position him with golf, they won’t do that. But I’ve not found his P.R. people to be the sharpest.”
Burk is now director of the Corporate Accountability Project for the National Council of Women’s Organizations, which pursues sex discrimination lawsuits. Ironically, she has more impact now than she ever did carrying a protest sign; the NCWO has won multi-million-dollar settlements from Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley, stopping their executives from claiming membership fees from all-men’s clubs as corporate expenses.
Augusta is still a “no girls allowed” tree fort, however. And by playing there, says Burk, Tiger supports that discrimination. Is that, she wonders, one of the 12 steps in his sexual addiction rehabilitation program?
“He always seemed to be super disciplined, an automaton,” she said. “But once it came out, it wasn’t so shocking. This kind of behavior is part of a fundamental misogyny that is displayed by many people in power. We see this a lot with politicians, your Eliot Spitzer … They get to thinking they are above it all. Tiger Woods just outdid everybody.”
Seven years after taking on Augusta, Martha Burk finds it no surprise Tiger Woods returns there [New York Daily News]
- So long folks, it’s time for me to take off 18
- Man wins full marathon while pushing his daughter in a baby stroller (video) 14
- Lock and load, it’s youth baseball fundraising time: league raffling off AR-15 rifle (video) 8
- Sim Bhullar is a large basketball player, and I mean it. Anybody want a peanut? 0
- What’s with kids and all these death-defying stunts? 674
- Nothing to see here…just a 70-yard field goal by a high-schooler (video) 3
- None found