Tour and News

New York Times reporter says she’d skip Masters to protest membership policies

AUGUSTA, Ga. - New York Times golf writer Karen Crouse is ready to say enough is enough.

She does not want to cover the Masters again unless a woman is admitted into Augusta National’s all-male membership.

“If it were left to me, which it seldom is in the power structure of writer versus editor, I’d probably not come cover this event again until there is a woman member,” Crouse said Thursday. “More and more, the lack of a woman member is just a blue elephant in the room.”

Crouse, who became the Times’s golf writer in 2011, made the comments one day after Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne held a contentious press conference about Augusta National’s membership practices.

Crouse, sitting in the second row of that press conference, held her hand aloft for 20 minutes before the moderator called on her to speak.

Crouse then asked Payne how he would explain to his granddaughters that the club he leads has no women as members.

“I think that’s a question that deals with membership,” said Payne, who has long refused to discuss Augusta National’s membership policy.

Crouse followed up, saying it was a “kitchen-table question, a personal question.” Payne then answered, “Well, my conversations with my granddaughters are also private.”

On Thursday, Crouse also criticized the PGA Tour for recognizing the Masters as an official event despite Augusta National’s lack of a woman member. In August of 1990, the PGA Tour adopted an anti-discrimination policy, which said it would not hold events at clubs with “exclusionary or discriminatory policies or practices.”

“I love the [Masters] tournament for the reasons the players do -- the course is beautiful, the history is abundant,” Crouse said. “But I find it harder and harder to get past one thing that’s missing. [PGA Tour commissioner] Tim Finchem is not making a stand. High-ranking players with daughters are not willing to talk about it. Somebody has to make a stand. Why not me in my own little way?”

Related Columns:
Bastable: Imagining a conversation at Payne's breakfast table
Shipnuck: 'No comment' won't cut it, Mr. Payne

Shipnuck: Time for Augusta to do the right thing



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