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Tiger Woods calls Augusta National issue 'frustrating'
by Jim Armstrong

MIYAZAKI, Japan (AP)?

Tiger Woods is becoming annoyed by the calls for him to skip next year's Masters because of the all-male membership at Augusta National Golf Club.

"It's frustrating because I'm the only player they are asking," Woods said Wednesday, two days after a New York Times editorial urged him to skip the Masters as a gesture against sexism.

"They're asking me to give up an opportunity no one has ever had - winning the Masters three years in a row," said Woods, who was in Japan for this week's Dunlop Phoenix.

No one has boycotted the Masters before, he added.

Woods has repeatedly said he thinks women should be allowed to join the club, but that he is an honorary member and doesn't have voting rights on membership.

Woods also said Wednesday he is getting tired of having to repeatedly address the issue.

"A tournament without Mr. Woods would send a powerful message that discrimination isn't good for the golfing business," the New York Times editorial said.

Augusta National declined comment.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who says his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition will organize protests at the Masters if a woman is not a member by April, called the Times editorial "unfair and inconsistent" for singling out Woods.

"I don't remember them saying to Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus to boycott the Masters because blacks are not playing," Jackson said Tuesday.

Lee Elder became the first black to play the Masters in 1975.

Still, Jackson said he would encourage Woods to take a stronger stand.

"He's much too intelligent and too much a beneficiary of our struggles to be neutral," Jackson said. "His point of view does matter."

In interviews this month, Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson was adamant that a woman would not be among the 300 members at Augusta by the start of the Masters in April.

Johnson's comments were the first on the subject since he criticized Martha Burk and the National Council of Women's Organizations for trying to coerce change at the golf course.


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