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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student


Woods' job is not to make social adjustments

Tiger Woods has found himself a nice mess.\nWell, actually, the nice mess found Tiger.\nThe world's most popular golfer is caught in the middle of a social controversy, even though he has nothing to do with it.\nAugusta National Golf Course is a private club in Augusta, Ga. Like most other private courses in the U.S., it can choose its members based on whatever criteria its directors decide. Unlike most other private courses, though, it is the home of the most prestigious event in the world's biggest professional golf tour.\nAugusta National Golf Course is the home of The Masters, and Augusta National does not allow female members to join. Recently, many people and groups have begun to take action against the club in protest to this obviously sexist policy. These include a call for CBS to boycott The Masters, and for advertisers to pull out of the broadcasts.\nEnter Woods, sort of.\nGroups are now interested in Woods' opinion -- as long as it is the same as theirs. Woods is a minority with a voice. There would be no stronger message to Augusta National if he were to boycott The Masters. But, Woods is not ready to do that, because it is not an issue he wants to take a stance on. So, when asked, he has had to be extremely careful with his answers.\n"Do I want to see a female member? Yes. But it's our right to have any club set up the way we want to," he told reporters last week.\nAnd he's right.\nWoods' opinion on the matter is a valuable one, but he understands that it is not a decision that he should be making. Augusta National is a private club, and they are entitled to run their business however they would like, including excluding people for any reason they want. It is sad that there are still organizations as prominent and prestigious that still feel this way about women or other minority groups, but it is their right to do so.\nWoods went on to add that he would like to see William Johnson, the chairman of Augusta National, and Martha Burk, the chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations meet and work out a compromise themselves -- but this brought only added criticism. Many viewed these comments as elusive, and are upset with Woods for not taking a stance on social issues.\nApparently Woods, being half-black and half-Thai, is supposed to speak out for all minorities, and help to enable them to break barriers that are against them. Apparently, every time a social issue comes up, he has to take the side of the minority and attack those holding them back. Woods has even pointed out that he is not even a member of the club, and those who are, such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, are not being brought into the discussion.\nBut I give credit to Mr. Woods. Tiger does do things to help minorities, such as his Tiger Woods Foundation, which is designed to help minority children play and learn golf. But it is not his job to step in the middle of every social argument. Not every successful minority should be forced to be social leaders, and if Woods does not want to address this particular issue, then that is his decision. Woods is a golfer, not a minority leader, and those who criticize him for not representing their beliefs are being just as blind to his rights as Augusta National is to women's rights.

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