Golf said to factor into Spurrier's reported agreement to come to USC - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Golf said to factor into Spurrier's reported agreement to come to USC

(Augusta, Georgia-AP) Nov. 19, 2004 - Lost in the hubbub of news, reports and rumors swirling about the South Carolina football program is the impact had by what Mark Twain famously called a "good walk spoiled."

On Thursday a number of media outlets confirmed reports former University of Florida Gators and Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier agreed to come to South Carolina pending the retirement of current coach Lou Holtz.

Thursday evening Coach Holtz, 67, announced his plans to retire to his Gamecock players before practice, apparently opening the door to the 59-year-old Spurrier. South Carolina athletic director Mike McGee would not confirm or deny either Holtz's retirement or an agreement with Spurrier .

On Thursday the Washington Post newspaper reported Hootie Johnson, the president of Augusta National Golf Club and a former USC fullback, was also involved in negotiations with Spurrier, himself an avid golfer.

Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson says Steve Spurrier is not guaranteed a membership at the home of the Masters if he becomes the head football coach at South Carolina.

Holtz is a member at Augusta National, which each spring hosts the Masters.

Johnson, who played fullback for the Gamecocks in the early 1950s and who lives in Columbia, says it would be "completely false" to imply membership at Augusta National could be linked to any job.

He says an invitation to join Augusta National would never be tied to anything except personal relationships within the club. The paper says Spurrier toured the club on Wednesday.

The Post says Columbia's proximity to Augusta National, which is a quick 70 miles to the west, and Spurrier's desire to be a member both played a role in Spurrier's agreement.

Holtz coached at Arkansas in the late 1970s, and he and Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles have long been friends with former Augusta National chairman Jack Stephens.

Earlier in the week reported Holtz said, when asked about rumors Spurrier was headed to Columbia, "I've talked with Steve. We're friends. I've asked him how to cure my slice. That's about it."

updated 1:31pm by Chris Rees

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