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Opinion: Martha Burk’s Ignorance on Display

Martha Burk
Martha Burk famously went after Augusta National when it had no female members. Photo Credit: NBC News

So long out of the spotlight that she’d become a Trivial Pursuit question, Martha Burk of Augusta National-protest fame re-emerged this week to tackle the most pressing issue facing the world today: whether or not next year’s U.S. Women’s Open should be held at Trump Bedminster.

Here’s a hint: Burk thinks it shouldn’t.

Writing in the Huffington Post, and showing manifest ignorance about an organization that has a female president and more women events than any organization that doesn’t have “Ladies” in its name, Burk said, “the USGA is at the core a boys (sic) club willing to exploit the women for monetary gain.”

In addition to the juvenile absurdity of that statement – Anybody care to guess how much the USGA loses on everything from the Girl’s Junior to the Women’s Senior Amateur? – Burk believes that LPGA players have a moral obligation to insist that the event be moved regardless of contractual obligations, infrastructure investment, logistics or the quality of the golf course.

“Most if not all of them are members of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, and they’re acting like good little girls and remaining mute, or saying they don’t see a problem with playing their most important tournament at a course owned by the country’s leading misogynist,” wrote Burk, who now heads the Corporate Accountability Project for the National Council of Women’s Organizations.

Part of that is Martha’s opinion. But the insinuation that LPGA players are wilting wallflowers who nod and smile like “good little girls” is as ridiculous as it is insulting. Most of the LPGA players I’ve spoken with disagree with Martha’s opinion. Many know Trump and have no problem with him. But they’re not demure members of the weaker sex.

Win an Ireland Golf TripLPGA players are almost always more open and honest than their counterparts on the PGA Tour, no matter what the issue. The fact that many of them are staying out of politics is commendable, especially this year. In the sewer that has become the 2016 election, LPGA players are, quite frankly, acting like the only adults in the room.

They understand that you don’t make policy and set precedent on the emotions of the moment. A week from now, Donald Trump either will be President-elect or a private citizen. Either way, players know that attempting to dictate the public statements or sentiments of a golf course owner is bound to backfire.

What if a course owner is a devout Catholic and opposes gay marriage, divorce and abortion? Should LPGA players boycott the facility, even if said owner is supporting the tour and the women’s game?

What if a sponsor supports a controversial proposition on immigration? Should the tour say, “No, thanks, spend your dollars elsewhere.”

Where is the line?

Reasonable people can disagree on public policy, as well as the efficacy of this or that candidate. But no one who knows the players on the LPGA Tour can say they are mute little girls.

In a couple of weeks, when the fever of this election breaks, everyone will see that. Hopefully.



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