"...because the fans are still the most important part of the game."

Hogan's Alley

Check out the 115sports archives

Add great sports content to your site

Contact 115Sports

About 115Sports

Send your comments to:

Want Hogan's Alley sitting in your email box every Friday?

Sign up here:


April 11, 2003

by Bill Hogan


Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were among the first activists to fight for women's rights in America. They were abolitionists and suffragists. They were social reformists that opened the doors to higher education; and they were instrumental in changing unfair labor laws.

They are three of the most influential women in the history of the United States. And their struggles and achievements serve as an inspiration to everyone involved in the women's rights movement today.


Then there's Martha Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations and self-proclaimed protector of women everywhere.

Some of her greatest achievements to date include: outing prominent members of the Augusta National Golf Club, audaciously using the fine, courageous women who selflessly serve our country in the armed forces to further her "cause"; and adversely affecting the fragile economic structure in the city of Augusta, Georgia.

I'm all for women's rights. I married a woman; heck, my mother's a woman. But this situation has deteriorated into a battle of wills between two old coots unwilling to budge, blinded by their own self importance.

It's Martha against Hootie in what amounts to nothing more than a thumb war compared to what's going on in the world today. There. Now Ms. Burk can call me a woman-hating chauvinist. Except what she seems to be most unaware of is the fact that I am reflecting the sentiments of every single woman I have spoken to about the matter.

This is no longer a women's rights issue at all. This is about one woman keeping herself in the public eye any way she can. Her "suggestion" that The Master's should be cancelled in deference to the war in Iraq seems to be motivated more by the fact that the news coverage of the war will overshadow her ballyhooed weekend protest than by any sense of patriotism.

I wonder who's footing the bill for that get together; and what percentage of the tax-exempt charitable donations accepted by the NCWO is being squandered so Ms. Burk can travel around the country to appear on any and every talk show willing to strap her to a microphone.

Money that I'm sure would be better well spent trying to find a cure for breast cancer or helping unwed mothers find shelter and put food on the table. But these issues, as worthy as they may be, don't get you on the front page of the USAToday.

Her myopic conviction to secure a green member's jacket for some wealthy, well-connected woman has had a profound affect on quite a number of people. Just not on Hootie and the boys of the ANGC.

It's the men and women business owners in the city of Augusta that are suffering the most from Burk's wrath. Small business' that rely heavily on the revenues generated this one week in April just to keep their heads above water the rest of the year. I guess that a couple of mom and pop shops going under is a small price to pay – as long as Martha gets what she wants.

I think it speaks volumes to the irrelevant nature of this issue that a group of women find the entire debacle so distasteful they feel compelled to organize in opposition. The members of WAMB – Women Against Martha Burk – want people to know that the head of the NCWO does not speak for all women. My guess is she doesn't speak for most women.

Ms. Burk's fight has succeeded on one level. She's given sportsfans something they've been waiting for since the television was invented. We get to see Tiger chase history by attempting to win his third straight Master's Championship; and watch Arnie and Jack tackle Amen Corner one more time.

And thanks to Martha Burk's strong-arm tactics, we get to see it all commercial free. (Though it does create the small problem of trying to decide when to run to the fridge for a beer or go to the bathroom).

The abolishment of discrimination and segregation is a worthy cause. And we all recognize the importance of gender and racial equality. That's why there is a statue honoring the work of Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton at our nation's capital.

Somehow I doubt Ms. Burk will go down in history as a great crusader of women's rights because she opened the gates of Augusta National to a small group of privileged women blessed with high social status and low handicaps.


Copyright ©2001-2003, 115sports.com and Bill Hogan. All Rights Reserved.