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Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Foresees No Change in All-Male Membership Policy

The incoming chairman at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia has announced his intention to preserve the club's traditions, and says he foresees no change in its all-male membership policy.

In a conference call Monday, Billy Payne said decisions on such issues are made by club members, and that there is no reason or specific timetable to have a dialogue about it with National Council of Women's Organizations chairwoman Martha Burk.

It was Payne's first comment since he was selected Friday to replace Hootie Johnson as chairman at Augusta National, which each year hosts the Masters tournament.

Martha Burk led an unsuccessful protest to try to force Augusta National to allow women to join before the 2003 Masters. Although she had expressed hope that the membership policy would change when Johnson retired, she now says she is disappointed but not surprised.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.