USOC Chief Hopes to Change Augusta
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The push for female members at Augusta National Golf Club got its biggest boost yet Monday when the head of the U.S. Olympic Committee said he will work aggressively with other club members to admit women.
Lloyd Ward, one of a handful of black members at Augusta National, said he was ``committed to breaking down barriers which exclude women from membership at Augusta in the weeks and months ahead.″
Amid signs that some Augusta National members were backing away from the club’s hard-line stance on the issue, the former president of Ford Motor Co. also said he thought there would be female members at the exclusive club that hosts the Masters golf tournament.
``I think there will be (a woman member) at some time in the future,″ Harold ``Red″ Poling said from his suburban Detroit home. ``I have a lot of faith in Hootie. Everyone would like to see issues such as this resolved.″
Ward made his comments in a letter to Martha Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, which is spearheading the drive to include women among Augusta National’s 300 members.
It was the first time Ward had commented on the issue since saying in April he would work behind the scenes to allow women into the club, and it was the strongest public statement in support of female members by any member yet.
``I am working with others who are members of Augusta National Golf Club who share the belief that the organization should include women in its membership ranks,″ Ward wrote. ``It is my intent to aggressively work for that reform.″