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The Inside Track

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December 17, 2002|Larry Stewart

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, heard, observed, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here. One exception: No products will be endorsed.

What: "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel"

Where: HBO, tonight, 10

What started as a private letter from Martha Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, to Hootie Johnson, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, developed into a firestorm. Much has been reported about Burk's campaign to have a woman admitted to Augusta, site of the Masters. Opinions have been expressed, editorials written.

HBO provides a look at who Burk is and what motivates her in the lead segment on this edition of "Real Sports." And Bryant Gumbel, the show's host, who doesn't do many interviews, does this one.

Burk tells Gumbel that this is not a personal crusade, that she went through her board and her membership.

She describes herself as a full-time women's rights advocate. She grew up in Texas and lived there while she raised her two children. She says being a stay-at-home mom wasn't enough. That's what motivated her interest in women's rights.

Gumbel conducts a balanced interview, presenting both sides of the argument.

"A club has a right, a legal right, to basically define its membership as its wishes," he says.

Burk answers, "If Augusta wants to be a private club, it needs to act like a private club. It cannot have it both ways. They can't say, 'We're just a few old boys on the back nine, but we want the public, billions of people, into our living room, figuratively.' "

Of Tiger Woods' role, she says, "From day one, we have said that Tiger Woods should not be required to speak out alone. But Tiger Woods has a unique opportunity here, more so than the other players because of who he is. As you know, Augusta for many years had a rule that all caddies were black men and all players were white men."

Burk takes a shot at CBS, which televises the Masters, calling it "an anti-woman network." She cites its tolerance of Andy Rooney as an example.

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