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Will IBM CEO Rometty Be the First Woman Admitted to Augusta?

By April 6, 2012

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Augusta's green jacket

How long can Augusta hold out? Every few years the story makes headlines...yada yada yada...Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, refuses to admit women as members. Yeah, we know that already.

But what may have been a longstanding source of pride for club members -- the group's stubborn intractability and its inflexible adherence to anachronistic patriarchy -- is starting to look as embarrassing as an all-out tantrum thrown by a cranky three-year-old who missed his nap. Especially in light of developments unique to this year's Masters.

The Chicago Tribune explains:

IBM is one of the Masters' most dedicated and generous sponsors. As a "thank-you" to the global technology and consulting firm, Augusta National traditionally gives the company CEO membership privileges and, of course, the bodacious green jacket.

Ah, but there's a problem. IBM has a new CEO and it's a "she."

Virginia "Ginni" Rometty, who boasts Chicago roots as a 1979 graduate of Northwestern University's engineering school, oversees IBM as the company's first female president and CEO. Her predecessor, Sam Palmisano, told The New York Times she got the job last fall "because she deserved it. ... It's got zero to do with progressive social policies."

If Augusta wised up and accepted Rometty as its first female member, that too would have "zero to do with progressive social policies." It would have everything to do with catching up with the times and behaving like intelligent rational gentlemen instead of boorish misogynistic jerks.

Really, Augusta's men-only policy has become little more than a thing to be rubbed in women's faces. What argument can they offer up that justifies excluding half the population?

Groucho Marx once famously said something about not wanting to be a member of any club that would have him. Whether or not Rometty has any interest in a membership at Augusta is a moot point. The golf club has a golden opportunity to make a grand gesture and admit its first female member in a memorable and groundbreaking way. If they choose to do otherwise, they'll be acting out of both stubbornness and stupidity.

Photo Andrew Redington/Getty Images


April 9, 2012 at 11:47 am
(1) betsy andersen says:

augusta should maintain their policy of no women. its a tradition. we don’t have that much anymore in our country.

April 11, 2012 at 2:39 am
(2) ShirleyInOz says:

Yep, lot of fine traditions should be allowed to continue… not because they make any sense, but because they are fine traditions.

Personally I am going to the market to buy a slave this weekend.

Give the CEO a green jacket and stop behaving like louts.

April 11, 2012 at 9:20 am
(3) Keri says:

The first poster probably loves the tradition of paying women less than a day’s wage for a day’s work too. Perhaps she enjoys having her sisters’ reproductive rights stripped away one by one by male-dominated legislatures across the country? (My guess is that anyone who would post what she did also advocates the notion of all-male legislatures in general. (Hey, it’s a tradition! If it was good enough for Benjamin, John, and Thomas, it should be good enough for us. Right Betsy?) Is Betsy a nom de plume for George, by any chance? Back to the matter at hand: Give us one good reason why this is a tradition that deserves to remain in place.

April 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm
(4) Anne Caroline Drake says:

I’m surprised that it is still legal for the club to remain male-only. And, I’m hoping that IBM’s new CEO has the audacity to withdraw support from a club that doesn’t honor her position.

I’m confused by the tradition argument. Why should the tradition of admitting the CEO of IBM be forgotten just because the current CEO happens to be female?

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