The Masters should just be about golf

I am not a serious golfer. By definition, I couldn't even qualify as a hacker.

Every spring I plan on pulling my clubs out of the closet, heading off to the driving range, signing up for lessons and begin playing this great sport on a regular basis.

Something?usually time?interferes with those plans.

However, I enjoy the sport. The upcoming LPGA Chick-fil-A tournament is one of my favorite events to cover as the sports editor for this paper.

I even have to admit I also enjoy watching the game on television, especially The Masters.

The Masters is truly one of the year's biggest sports events. I've never been to Augusta National, and more than likely never will be given the opportunity to cover or watch the game's most prestigious tournament live and in person.

The event is full of history and nostalgia. The battle to win the green jacket has kept viewers and lucky spectators on the edge of their seats for years. There is no more drama in sports than the final holes of the tournament on Sunday.

Now, however, Martha Burk has given the word Masters a bad connotation. Burke is angry at the private golf club because there are no female members and she plans protest to show her displeasure.

Burk might have a point. In 2003, there probably should be a female member.

However, Burk's time could be better spent tackling more important women's issues that won't be solved by Augusta National adding women to its membership rolls.

Burk would love to derail the Masters. Sponsors have buckled under and for the first time ever CBS will show the event without high-priced commericals.

Burk would love the PGA to step in and give the tournament some sort of ultimatum, but the Masters is run independently of the rest of the tour and that isn't going to happen.

It's sad every time a prestigious member of the PGA tour steps to the podium or makes an appearance, he is required to speak out about the lack of women members at Augusta, instead of his thoughts about winning the tournament.

Tigers Woods has especially be bombarded with these questions.

That's unfortunate. That shouldn't go with the territory just because he's the world's best golfer.

I wonder if Woods is expected to have ?politically correct' answer to women at Augusta questions because at one time Augusta also had an all white male membership, or if those of us in this business are picking his brain because he's the No. 1-ranked player?

Regardless of how Woods feels about the membership rolls at Augusta, he shouldn't have to constantly be required to answer these questions.

That goes for Jack Nickalus, Arnold Palmer, Davis Love III or any other professional in Augusta this week in quest for a green jacket.

The only history that should be being made this week at Augusta is Woods' quest for three straight wins. If he does that, I think there can be little doubt about his place in golf history.

It might not be easy. Davis Love III is playing some of his best golf, and by the law of averages, Phil Mickelson has to figure to someday win one of the sport's major tournaments.

I for one am looking for Sunday to be an exciting day at Augusta as somebody attempts to chase down Tiger on the final day.

If he wins again, it will have to go down as one of the most impressive streaks in sports history. Winning three straight at Augusta has never been done.

Now, only if it would stop raining so the tournament can begin.

Gorman is the sports editor of the Daily. E-mail at dgorman@ news-daily.com