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.
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.
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