Originally created 04/09/03

Hootie: Club has no timetable



Augusta National Golf Club has no timetable for admitting its first female member, Masters Tournament Chairman Hootie Johnson said Wednesday.







The club chairman, speaking to a standing-room only crowd at his annual state of the Masters news conference, reiterated his position on the issue that has been the hottest topic in golf since last summer.

"I want to emphasize that we have no timetable and our membership is very comfortable with our present status," Johnson said.

Johnson received a letter in June from Martha Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, asking when the all-male club would admit a woman. He replied with a terse, three-paragraph reply to Ms. Burk, then made her inquiry public. The situation escalated, and Johnson eventually released the tournament's television sponsors.

This morning, the chairman was flanked by Will Nicholson, chairman of the competition committee, and Billy Payne, chairman of the media committee. More than 50 Augusta National members, wearing the club's traditional green jackets, lined the room to show support.

"If I drop dead just now, our position doesn't change on this issue," Johnson said.