By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 11, 2003
Little surprise, there's not a word about the controversy swirling around Augusta National at the tournament's official site, masters.org.
Even when the rains subside, that site will fittingly focus on the golf this weekend, perhaps knowing there's plenty of sites joining in on the debate outside the ropes and the national interest in whether women should have the right to become members at the prestigious but private club.
And especially if the rains continue, there's never a better time to check out these sites, some siding with Hootie Johnson, some with Martha Burk, all devoted to the issue of women and golf and sexism ... or the chance to make a quick buck while the irons are hot.
augustadiscriminates.org: This is Burk's platform for her criticism on the Masters, offering links to e-mail dozens of companies that "sanction sex discrimination" at the club. It describes the Masters as "a model tournament for its beauty, decorum and tradition," but one with "a rotten underbelly." For those questioning her priorities, it should be noted the site for Burk's group, womensorganizations.org, makes its stance on war in Iraq more prominent than its Masters crusade.
marthaburk.com: The site is up for sale, offering only a single image of golf great Bobby Jones staring at one of his clubs. Jones named his legendary putter Calamity Jane after the heroine of the American frontier in the 1800s. The kicker is, Calamity Jane was born Martha Cannary and married a man named Clinton Burk, so Calamity Jane was, in an it's-a-small-world twist, Martha Burk.
theburkstopshere.com: Burk's online opponents seem most interested in stopping her by selling merchandise. This site sells "Drive Burk Out!" golf balls emblazoned with her face for $19.75 a dozen, as well as T-shirts. The asking price for a white button with Burk's last name and a red line through it is $2.50, plus $5.75 for shipping. hootiesrevenge.com: This site, run by a Sarasota man, asks visitors to "Support the Constitution!" though its biggest struggle may be with spelling. In peddling $25 green T-shirts, it encourages all to "Fight Run-A-Muck Activism!" and "Be a Golfers, Golfer!"
burkbusters.com: No T-shirts here, but an Evans, Ga., man is selling bottled water with the Burk Busters logo for $2 a bottle. On a pleasantly less commercial note, he encourages visitors to e-mail Burk and explain that there are more pressing issues for women, with a National Breast Cancer Awareness link.
golfersforarealcause.org: Again, the hope is to raise awareness about breast cancer and "divert attention away from Martha Burk." The site asks for online donations but points out that two organizations declined to be recipients, not wanting to enter the fray.
hootie.com: This belongs not to Johnson but to pop music's Blowfish, but they manage to get the Masters on their site. For nine years the group has sponsored a Morning After the Masters celebrity pro-am tournament, held in North Myrtle Beach this year. Lead singer Darius Rucker and Dolphins legend Dan Marino were part of the foursome that finished second last year. TID-BYTES: The winner of ESPN.com's Tournament Challenge, Joe Lange of Fond du Lac, Wisc., earned $10,000 as the most accurate of nearly 1-million entries. He had 26 of 32 first-round games right, had seven of the elite eight correct (missing only with Florida) and nailed the Final Four. He grossly miscalculated the championship game, however, picking Syracuse to beat Kansas by six points, not the actual three. ... Buccaneers.com asks fans what the Bucs should do with their first draft pick, and the top choice was a speed receiver, getting 35 percent, just ahead of a run-blocking guard. SI.com's mock draft has the Bucs taking Oregon tailback Onterrio Smith with an Emmitt Smith-like 5-foot-9, 220-pound build.