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GEORGIA ON OUR MIND: WOODS ALL THE FOCUS AT AUGUSTA
Published April 9, 1998
The Masters begins today at Augusta National and defending champion Tiger Woods is featured in USA TODAY in color photos on the front page of the news and sports section, as well as a special section on the event. In each photo, Woods is sporting a Nike shirt and hat. USA TODAY's Harry Blauvelt writes that one-year after his win at Augusta, Woods is "attracting kids and minorities to golf like the Pied Piper. ... Golf equipment sales [are] booming. Marketing moguls love him" (USA TODAY, 4/9). BRING THE GAME TO THE PEOPLE: Minority participation in golf, and the efforts of the World Golf Foundation's First Tee program, are examined in a front-page feature by Roger Thurow in the WALL STREET JOURNAL. In looking to increase access for minority youths, the program is "scouting out some decidedly un-Augusta sites as First Tee candidates, like derelict warehouse districts and abandoned land fills." First Tee Dir Tod Leiweke said more than 700 communities in the U.S. have inquired about "getting in on the action" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/9). In USA TODAY, John Feinstein writes on First Tee and minority participation, saying that Woods is the "bridge" for exposing the game to new groups, but that he and the PGA Tour "need to keep working on the problem." Feinstein: "Woods needs to be a visible spokesman more often for minority golf and less often for corporate America. ... The Tour should send other golfers, not just Woods and [Jim] Thorpe, into minority neighborhoods to beat the drum for golf" (USA TODAY, 4/9). PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, on the game's future: "The real test for golf is how fast we can grow the game in the next 30 years. And to grow the game we have to make it more accessible, more affordable to people" ("Up Close," 4/8). GM PROMO SHELVED: In Augusta, DeMao & Joyner write on the scarcity of tickets and badges for The Masters. Team One Tickets is selling four-day tournament badges for $5,000-6,000; their face value is $100. MasterCard and GM had joined on a marketing promo where customers who used the GM MasterCard between October and January were entered in a drawing and eligible to win Augusta tickets. But GM, which has a "long-standing relations" with The Masters through Cadillac, "canceled the top prize after company officials leaned the prize badges were 'obtained illegally'" by MasterCard. GM offered the prize winner cash instead, but the figure was not revealed (AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, 4/9). TRUE POWER: In L.A., Steve Eubanks examines the relationship between the media and the event, citing the "lap-dog treatment Augusta National and its members have always received from the media." Frank Deford: "No sporting event in America, if indeed the whole world, has benefited from such a sweetheart press" (L.A. TIMES, 4/9).