Golf

Masters apologizes for barring female

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Masters officials have apologized to sports columnist Tara Sullivan of The Bergen (N.J.) Record after she was denied entry to a locker room for a post-tournament interview.

Augusta National spokesman Steve Ethun says a security guard acted improperly in stopping Sullivan, because club policy is to provide equal access to all reporters. Several female reporters at the tournament confirmed they had made numerous trips to the locker room for interviews in the past.

Ethun says ''it should not have happened,'' and Augusta National officials will work ''as hard as we can to make sure it does not happen again.''

Sullivan was among a crowd of reporters following third-round leader Rory McIlroy from the course into the clubhouse after his collapse in the final round.

''(The security guard) just said women were not allowed, and there was no official in sight,'' Sullivan said.

By the time she located McIlroy's manager, the interview had been completed.

Ethun said the club hires a number of people to work the tournament and the guard apparently was unaware of the equal-access policy.

According to NESN.com, Sullivan tweeted about the incident shortly afterward, before she received an apology.

"Bad enough no women members at Augusta. But not allowing me to join writers in locker room interview is just wrong," Sullivan's initial tweet read.

Her reference was to the Augusta National rule that forbids women from joining the exclusive golf club. That rule spawned many protests and a battle between the club and Martha Burk, the former chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations.

Sullivan later tweeted to thank her male colleagues who shared their transcripts of the McIlroy interview with her.

Sullivan also wrote a first-person account of the incident for her paper's website, NorthJersey.com.

"The issue touched a nerve for many reasons," her report concluded. "Augusta National does not allow women members, so perhaps security personnel could be confusing club policy with Masters policy. But women journalists have every right to be allowed wherever their male colleagues go, a right already determined by law. If they want to close the locker room to interviews, then they have to do it for everyone, not just me."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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