Washington's Lee Elder, the first black golfer to play in the Masters, feels "very, very bad" about the compromise that allows the PGA Championship to be held without formal protest next week and said civil rights leaders "had no right to sell out in this manner."

In a telephone interview early yesterday, Elder said he had planned to join picketing at Shoal Creek Country Club in Birmingham before a settlement was reached Monday.

In exchange for all-white Shoal Creek accepting a black as an honorary member and a promise to admit at least one more black through the regular process, civil rights leaders urged their followers not to protest during the Aug. 9-12 competition.

The controversy began when Shoal Creek founder Hall Thompson said in June that the club would not be pressured into admitting blacks. That attitude is nothing new among country club officials, but Hall triggered the massive reaction by saying, "I think we've said that we don't discriminate in every other area except blacks."

Elder said he planned to call the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Rev. Joseph Lowery, and "find out why all of a sudden they called off the pickets. . . . I had a willingness to go with him to demonstrate. Now, I will back off."

A member of the Senior PGA Tour and, in 1975, the first black golfer in the Masters, Elder was in Charlotte, N.C., for a tournament. Another senior black golfer, Charlie Owens, was equally angry.

"You need a tub of water, you get a teardrop and you are satisfied," Owens told the Associated Press. "No, {the settlement} didn't go far enough."

Before the criticism from Elder and Owens, Lowery called the agreement "an excellent beginning" and added: "We didn't get everything we'd like, but compromise is part of negotiations. We hope it's the beginning of the end of racial exclusion in golf as a sport and in golf as a business."

Before the compromise, six prominent companies pulled their television advertising and at least one other canceled plans for a hospitality tent. There was no indication yesterday whether the firms would reconsider.

Economic leverage is "a reason I feel so bad," Elder said. "We were in a position where they've got to come to you. The pressure should have continued. . . . Why wouldn't {PGA golfer} Calvin Peete and I at least be contacted?

"We sell ourselves too small and too cheap."

Elder said Peete also would have joined the pickets. Of Jim Thorpe, who officials said will be the only black in the 156-man PGA Championship field, Elder said: "If we were on the picket line and he crossed, we would know the type of person he is."

Shoal Creek officials said black businessman Louis Willie will be accorded all rights and privileges without having to pay the $35,000 entrance fee.

"Honorary memberships don't mean anything," said Elder. "I have plenty of them. But it doesn't mean I can carry a foursome {to the course} and play with them. This was nothing but a way to save face and get sponsors back."

"We get one guy in there and everything is going to be lovey-dovey," Owens said.

Willie said he preferred to be a regular member of Shoal Creek but the honorary route "was the quickest way to ease tension." He hasn't played golf "in about 20 years" and judged his skill level at "about 120 for 18 holes."

"To be honest with you," said Willie, 66, "I would not have paid the initiation fee. I don't feel I'd use the club enough to justify it." He said he agreed to join at the urging of Birmingham Mayor Richard Arrington.

Willie is president of the largest black-owned life insurance company in Birmingham. His father was a Pullman porter for 40 years, his mother graduated from college in 1920 and Willie holds a degree from Wiley College in Texas. He served in the Army in World War II.

In a related development, the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, site of the Masters, talked about accelerating black membership.

"I'm sure we will invite a black fellow in the next month or so," Hord Hardin said, according to the Associated Press. "We would like to express ourselves as wanting to have minority members."

Meanwhile, a California television station that had said it would not show highlights of the PGA Championship also reversed its decision yesterday. KNBC-TV in Burbank said the change was prompted by the settlement between Shoal Creek and civil rights groups.