LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Debate of Place of Women on PGA Tour
Aired May 14, 2003 - 19:41 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well back in 1945 Babe Zaharias qualified to play in a men's tournament, the Los Angeles Open. Vijay Singh says Sorenstam should do that as well.
Now playing today in Germany, Tiger Woods says he's fine with the idea of Annika playing with the men. To discuss the issue, in Washington, Martha Burk, national chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations. And John Kinkade, co-host of the radio's "The Buck and Kinkade" show on 680 the Fan in Atlanta.
Thanks very much for being with us, both of you. Martha, let me start off with you. Why do you think Annika is doing this?
MARTHA BURK, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN'S ORGANIZATIONS: I think exactly what she says. She's doing to challenge herself. To find the limits of her own talent. And I will add that there was quite a bit of pressure put on the Colonial, I understand, by the title sponsor, Bank of America, to invite Annika. I think that's ironic that they're going to profit from her talent and her celebrity when their CEO and top executives are a member of a club, Augusta National, that wouldn't let Annika in.
COOPER: John Kinkade, what do you think? That it's all about just wanting to play?
JOHN KINKADE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Oh, I think that's a great answer from Miss Burk, but it's not the truth. I mean it's great when you hear Tiger Woods coming out in support of Annika. But it's all about IMG, the marketing firm that promotes Annika Sorenstam, just the same one that by chance promotes Tiger Woods. That's why Tiger's coming out in support of Annika. She doesn't deserve to be on the tour and she shouldn't be out with the guys.
COOPER: What's wrong with her golfing with the men?
KINKADE: Well here's the problem. Is you've got, first of all, it's very disingenuine. One, the fact is they say this is to promote the Women's Tour. This is not going to promote the LPGA Tour. There is no -- absolutely no comparison between watching men's golf in the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour, first.
And secondly, it was also supposed to be a one-time event. And when you hear Tiger Woods saying that she should play in three or four events this tells you that they're setting us up for a fall in the couple of months. (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: Martha, do you think we're going to be seeing more of this? Women playing, crossing over like this. Because I -- nothing in the PGA rules that says it has to be men.
BURK: There is nothing in the rules. The PGA Tour has a lot of problems and they need to clean up their act on a couple of things. They need to make a decision here. The ruling bodies of golf do, because as you know, women can play on this tour. There's some overlapping talent here. Golf is unique almost in that way.
So I think we may see a little more of it. I don't think there's going to be a flood of it, frankly, because there are not that many women that can be competitive with the men. Annika is unique in that way.
COOPER: Well, John, let me ask you, do you think we're going to be seeing this in golf a lot in the future? I mean, you have women competing against men in auto racing and horse racing. Can golf be the same way?
KINKADE: I don't think you're going to see a lot of it, Anderson. But one thing that I think is very funny is that Miss Burk would be coming out in support of Annika doing this. I would think that she should be spending her time worrying about the LPGA which has a rule discriminatory against men saying that you have to be a woman at birth to play on the tour.
BURK: As I said, the ruling bodies of golf have got to deal with this. It's interesting that you mention equestrian sports and auto racing because there the horse and the car, if you will, are the great equalizers. And men and women do compete head to head in those two sports.
Golf has overlap. They need to deal with it. I think that Annika to challenge herself and see the limits of her own talent, I think it's fine. It's going to be a sidebar to the tournament. I don't see it as a big threat to the men's tournament.
Vijay was obviously threatened by a woman. He admitted it. I think that a lot of men are acculturated to never being beat by a woman.
COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there. John, your smile and rolled eyes says it all. I got your point, too. John Kinkade, Martha Burk, appreciate you joining us. Thank you very much.
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