- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Martha Burk, beaten but hardly bowed, is vowing anew to save the rich women of America from the discriminatory practices of Hootie Johnson and Augusta National.

She plans to reveal her next move against Augusta National today, which perhaps is a threat to hold her breath until she turns purple in the face.

She obviously misses the attention.

Last year at this time, the head of the National Council of Women’s Organizations was an ubiquitous presence on the national airwaves, waging the contrived fight against the old coots of Augusta National who were looking to keep rich women down.

Burk has not ruled against staging another protest while the Masters is being played this week. Her protest site is under judicial review, which, if you recall, is the protest wrapped in the original protest, which is a lot of protesting, to be sure.



It was never easy keeping up with all of Burk’s protests.

Her celebrated protest last year attracted at least a couple of people, maybe more, depending on how you quantify the Elvis impersonators, the confused and the nosy, all of them stationed almost in the next state, far removed from the serious business of golf.

Many tracts of forests were cleared in honor of Burk’s one-woman crusade, portrayed mostly as a righteous one, despite her un-American attempt to mount a coup d’etat against a private club.

No one ever has been able to redefine the meaning of a private club, although a good number of Burk’s conduits in the national press have tried valiantly.

They have noticed the popularity of the Masters golf tournament, a highly public spectacle that is held on the neatly manicured grounds of Augusta National, and they have decided that the private club loses its protection of privacy because of this four-day function.

If the Masters were the Preparation H Classic or something, with a viewing audience limited to shut-ins, Burk would not have been able push to her agenda to exhaustion.

Half the events on the PGA Tour pass almost unnoticed unless Tiger Woods is involved, most held at exclusive country clubs with membership polices that go unquestioned.

Thanks to Burk, we know Augusta National’s membership roll is limited to about 300. We know the club has no application process in the traditional sense. Its members come to you and ask: Would you like to be among us?

Augusta National’s members could restrict their membership to two-toed sloths if they wanted, and as a private club, they would be within their rights.

You do not have to like that. You might think it odd. But you are obligated to accept it.

There are only a zillion clubs in America, and quite a few of them have the darnedest membership policies, some even based on race, religion or gender. What can you do? People, for whatever reason, have a need to mingle among likeminded types, and in forums that bring them all together.

Donald Trump probably does not want to hang out with his plumber, and his plumber probably does not want to hang out with him unless it is to get hair-grooming tips.

Burk probably does not want to hang out with those who could not muster her sense of outrage with Augusta National. Not that you really had to be outraged. You just had to pretend to be outraged, as the ultra-left New York Times did, presumably after waking up from a long slumber and noticing, just in time, that there were no women in Hootie’s ranks.

The newspaper adopted Burk’s cause with much convoluted fervor, taking the position that she was right, the club was wrong and the Masters was worthy of its usual hole-to-hole coverage. Pumping up something while trying to beat its doors down is a mixed message at best.

So Burk, who hit the publicist’s jackpot in Augusta National, finds it too inviting to resist.

She is not finished with Augusta National yet. She has another announcement to make, another plan of attack.

Hers is the last remnants of the feminist’s cold war, and the gates to Augusta National have come to be her Berlin Wall.

Burk to Hootie, forevermore: Mr. Johnson, tear down this wall.

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