Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Rain can't wash away Martha & Co.


Masters notebook: Judge to decide where protesters can congregate

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Ga. - A federal judge upheld a law that allows the sheriff to regulate protests like the one planned by Martha Burk at Augusta National Golf Club.

Monday's ruling was only a partial victory for city officials, however.

U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. hasn't decided if Sheriff Ronald Strength violated his discretion by denying Burk the right to protest at the front gates of the exclusive club, where the Masters begins Thursday.

Burk is planning to protest Augusta National's all-male membership on Saturday. Aware of the time constraints of the case, Bowen said he would decide the second issue soon.

The Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on Burk's behalf.

Burk, who heads the National Council of Women's Organizations, wants to post 24 demonstrators outside the front gate of Augusta National and 200 more across the street during the Masters' third round.

Strength, who has broad authority over public protests, has told Burk and other groups the only place they can protest legally is a 5.1-acre site nearly a half-mile from the gate.

WAR VS. MARTHA: Scott Hoch was comfortably dry in the locker room, out of the rain that was coming down so hard small rivers were running down the first fairway of Augusta National.

It seemed a perfect time to talk about the controversy over a woman member at the storied course.

Only Hoch wasn't biting.

The few players who hung around the clubhouse chatted about the rain, the course and the war in Iraq. On the big screen in the grill room, CNN was showing images of the war.

"We're thinking and worrying about our people in Iraq," Hoch said. "This is minuscule compared to that. Even the golf tournament is minuscule compared to that."

RAINY DAY IN GEORGIA: Players arrived at Augusta National on Monday morning watching the sky warily yet hoping to get in a practice round. It didn't take long for those hopes to be dashed.

A thunderstorm dumped so much water on the course that players were left to hang around on the front porch or in the locker room waiting in vain for a chance to play.

Fans were never allowed in the gates. About midmorning, tournament officials formally closed the course for the day.

Masters on TV: USA, Thursday and Friday, 4-6:30 p.m.; 9-11:30 p.m.




NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Syracuse hangs on at the end
Daugherty: Orangemen win title with a smile
'Melo leads 'Cuse to title
The 'other' freshman does the damage early
Williams should take North Carolina job
Jubilant Syracuse fans celebrate first title
There's no position super frosh can't play

WOMEN'S FINAL FOUR
Geno vs. Pat with the national title at stake
Conlon important role player for UConn

OTHER COLLEGE HOOPS
Daugherty: One size doesn't fit all, NCAA
Prosser tops list of Pitt candidates

REDS
Reds to call up Guillen from Triple-A
Road stretch offers a needed respite
Reds notebook: Stopping HRs means throwing sinkers
Reds at Astros series preview

OTHER BASEBALL
Monday's games: Braves go back-to-back-to-back
Scoring, home runs up in first week of season
Strawberry being released from prison
MLB notebook: Pedro's $17.5M option exercised

BENGALS / NFL
Leftwich works out, visits 'Nati
Edwards wins comeback award

PREP SPORTS
Duncan area's top player
Monday's prep results
Prep sports schedules

GOLF
Love enters Masters on a roll
Rain can't wash away Martha & Co.

HOCKEY
Clones will play Toledo

NBA
Parish, Worthy head to Hall
Bulls GM Krause steps down because of health

PLAN YOUR DAY
Tuesday's sports on TV, radio