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Thread: Augusta’s New Issue: A Woman Runs I.B.M.

  1. #1

    Default Augusta’s New Issue: A Woman Runs I.B.M.

    Traditionally, the CEO of IBM has been offered a membership at Augusta National. This year, the CEO of IBM is Virginia M. Rometty. Of course, Augusta membreship rules probibit females from joining. So does Augusta extent the membership to her?

    Complicationg matters further, IBM is one of 3 major sponsers of the Masters

    Traditionally, I.B.M. chief executives are invited to join Augusta, which isn’t a tradition that would get shoved aside lightly because I.B.M. remains one of only three main sponsors of the Masters. But Augusta has not only never had a female member, its former chairman Hootie Johnson famously responded to Burk’s challenge with his declaration that he wouldn’t be forced “at the point of a bayonet” to admit women.



    March 28, 2012, 5:20 pm Augusta’s New Issue: A Woman Runs I.B.M.

    By LYNN ZINSERJohn Gress/Feature Photo Service

    Virginia M. Rometty of I.B.M.

    It has been nine years since a rather futile protest brought the issue of Augusta National’s lack of female members to the fore, but this year it has risen again — in a much thornier form for the club that hosts the Masters.

    In 2003, it was Martha Burk, then the head of the National Organization for Women, who decided to press the issue of Augusta’s all-male membership, but now, it stems from I.B.M.’s decision last year to name Virginia M. Rometty as its chief executive. Traditionally, I.B.M. chief executives are invited to join Augusta, which isn’t a tradition that would get shoved aside lightly because I.B.M. remains one of only three main sponsors of the Masters. But Augusta has not only never had a female member, its former chairman Hootie Johnson famously responded to Burk’s challenge with his declaration that he wouldn’t be forced “at the point of a bayonet” to admit women.

    That analogy suggested the era to which Johnson adhered. Now, the current chairman Billy Payne, who took the job in 2006 promising to stick to Masters traditions, has to face the issue from a far more modern angle.

    As Dan Wetzel writes on Yahoo.com, sticking to the no-female members policy means excluding the head of its major corporate sponsor because she is a woman, which means elevating sexual discrimination above other priorities, including being the club of the business elite.

    And now that the Rometty question has been posed rather widely the week before the Masters, Augusta will have to address it in some rather public fashion. Certainly, this is not the secretive club’s best option, and initial attempts to elicit comments, including by Bloomberg News, were met with the usual replies that the club does not discuss membership issues.

    It is worth noting that Augusta sidestepped similar questions about racial discrimination by quietly admitting two black members in 1990, shortly after the discriminatory practices of P.G.A. Championship host Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala., came to light and ended in the club agreeing to invite black members. It has chosen not to take that route with women.

    So that means Payne will either be seeing visions of pointed bayonets like his predecessor, or see Rometty as a chief executive worthy of membership just like her male predecessors.


  2. #2

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    It's no surprise that a man named Hootie would need to be prodded by a bayonet. Probably attached to a musket.

    A walking-talking anachronism.

  3. #3
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Well it is a good thing for him they are using dollars and not an outdated attachment to a firearm.....

  4. #4
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    It would get really interesting if there was a top-ranked PGA golfer that was female. I imagine they couldn't possibly exclude her and still be able to host a PGA-sanctioned event

  5. #5
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Virginia Rometty of IBM would probably die if she had to wear the members' iconic Augusta Green Jacket.




  6. #6

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    Ive watched quite a few Masters. Never noticed how crummy the jacket is.

    I guess you don't mind putting it on if you win the tournament.

  7. #7
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    I am hoping it is only crummy because it is "original" and not because the idiots are being cheap on a multimillion dollar tournament.

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