The world's best golfers are in Augusta, Georgia this week for the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.
Heavy thunderstorms kept golfers from getting on the course on Monday - but as the players and fans finally got on the course on Tuesday morning, many were wondering about another storm cloud that has shrouded the golf club - albeit outside the gates - in the months leading up to the Masters.
The controversy over Augusta's all-male membership policies has pitted Martha Burk of the National Council of Women's Organisations against Augusta National Chairman Hootie Johnson.
Though Burk will protest on Saturday, it was difficult to find much support for her as the fans and players took to the course on Tuesday morning in Augusta.
On Monday, the first day of Masters week, there was more action in court than on the course.
A federal judge turned down Martha Burk's request to protest outside the front gate of Augusta National Golf Club.
Burk, a US women's rights activist who wants the club to admit its first female member, is planning to protest against Augusta National's all-male membership during the third round on Saturday.
Burk wanted to post 24 demonstrators outside the front gate of Augusta National and 200 more across the street.
But Sheriff Ronald Strength, who has broad authority over public protests, told Burk and other groups they must gather at a 5.1-acre site nearly half-a-mile from the gate.
Strength said there's too much traffic along Washington Road, which runs in front of the club, to ensure safe protests.
A group headed by the Reverend Jesse Jackson has also been approved for a second site even further away from the club's main entrance.
ACLU lawyers challenged the ordinance, saying it gives the sheriff too much power to approve or deny protests and dictate their location. US District Judge Dudley H Bowen Jr sided with the city in two separate rulings on Monday.
Augusta National maintained that it had no interest in the court case.
Meanwhile, there was little visible support for Burk's cause around the grounds of Augusta National on Tuesday.
Local people had set up stands selling hats and pins supporting Hootie Johnson and the Tournament itself.
"I think everyone from Augusta or 99% of them feel as if they've personally been attacked. This tournament does a lot for this town. These people do a lot for this town. They have a wonderful relationship with this town. And Augusta, to the nation and the world, is the Masters."
SUPER CAPTION: Clifford Hopkins, Hilton Head, South Carolina, USA
The Masters tournament is a major economic stimulus in the area, and many people in Augusta are offended by - what they see as - an unprompted vilification of the club and tournament.
The debate, both pro and con, has resonated both in and out of the golfing community around the world.
"We have had requests from all over the world. We have sent them to every state in the nation, to a gentleman whose doing a party in New York City, to three ladies in Ireland and we have two right now, they tell me, in Iraq."
SUPER CAPTION: Clifford Hopkins, Hilton Head, South Carolina, USA
While many support Burk ideologically, a large contingent of locals feel that the debate has unnecessarily marred the community.
"I really think that it's been a disservice to the entire community what she's done, I really do. And being a female, I feel so strongly that being a private club, I think this club should be able to have who they want to as members. I do not think that they should be told who can and cannot be a member."
SUPER CAPTION: Kathy Barnes, Augusta, Georgia, USA
Race was also once a highly controversial issue at Augusta. There were no black members at Augusta until Ron Townsend was admitted in 1990. No black golfers played in the Masters until Lee Elder in 1975.
Significantly, Johnson campaigned hard for Townsend's membership.
It has already been a strange start to the week.
More overnight rain and intermittent showers on Tuesday limited practice for some players to only nine holes, and still more rain is forecast for Wednesday.
Crews were spreading pebbles and sand along slopes to keep fans from falling, and players were bracing for a course that will seem even longer.
The players themselves almost all downplayed Burk's protest. Many said that the war in Iraq should be a greater focus than a protest over which they have no control.
"It's the Masters, it's at Augusta. There's no more to say about it than that. It's one of the most impressive and fantastic venues we play golf at anywhere in the world. And it's always great to be here."
SUPER CAPTION: Darren Clarke
"I'm just coming here to play golf. I don't really try to get involved in the politics. They say I'm a member, but I'm not a full member. I don't run the golf club and it's up to them the way they want to run it."
SUPER CAPTION: Ian Woosnam
"I think we all have to look at the bigger picture. I'm more concerned about the war right now. I think that's something that, you know, it really hurts when you read that there are two or three guys that are getting killed each day. Because I was in a small war at home and it's not much fun when you lose friends and people you know. Let's just hope everything works out over there. If there's going to be any focus away from Augusta this week, that's where it should be."
SUPER CAPTION: Nick Price
For our Spanish-language clients.
SUPER CAPTION: Sergio Garcia
The world number one, Tiger Woods, has been asked repeatedly to chime in on the debate.
But Woods was focused on the tournament on Tuesday - and his quest to become the first player to win the Masters three years in a row.
"Everyone knows here my opinion on it. Should they become members? Should they be members? Yes. But, I don't really have a vote about how they run this golf course or this club."
SUPER CAPTION: Tiger Woods
No one has ever won the Masters three years in a row, and only two other players - Jack Nicklaus (1965-66) and Nick Faldo (1989-90) - even had a chance.
Woods has already won three green jackets, including the last two.
SHOTLIST: Augusta Georgia, USA. 8 April 2003.
1. 00:00 Front gate of Augusta
2. 00:10 Washington Rd. sign
3. 00:14 Pan of Washington Road
4. 00:26 Protest area
5. 00:33 Outside tournament
6. 00:40 "Hootie" Merchandise tent
7. 00:48 SOUNDBITE: Clifford Hopkins, hilton Head, South Carolina, USA.
8. 01:06 Clifford Hopkins
9. 01:13 SOUNDBITE: Clifford Hopkins, hilton Head, South Carolina, USA.
10. 01:28 Fans paying for "Hootie" hats
11. 01:41 SOUNDBITE: Kathy Barnes, Augusta, Georgia, USA.
12. 02:00 Ron Townsend, first black member of Augusta National