Teed-Off Ladies Still Barred at Augusta

Even CEO of Masters sponsor IBM is female-non-grata
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2012 4:10 AM CDT
Updated Apr 5, 2012 4:56 AM CDT
Teed-Off Women Still Barred at Augusta
Augusta National Golf Club chair William Porter Payne refuses to speak about membership policies at a press conference yesterday on the eve of the 76th Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia.   (Getty Images)

The prestigious Augusta National Golf Club, host of the Masters, seems to be sticking to its maddening policy of banning female members. Augusta National Chairman William Porter Payne won't even deign to publicly discuss the issue. Some critics believe it's long past time to extend an invitation to Virginia Rometty, CEO of IBM, one of three sponsors (along with Exxon and AT&T) of the Masters tourney, notes BusinessWeek. “All issues of membership remain the private deliberations of the membership,” Payne said at his annual news conference on the eve of the Masters. "We don't talk about our private deliberations." The last four CEOs of IBM—all men—were members.

Following the last brouhaha over the policy, John Snow, who served as Treasury secretary under George W. Bush, and CBS CEO Thomas Wyman—who called the ban "pig-headed"—quit the club. Augusta began inviting black members in 1990, but no female black members. "The place is stuck in time warp, just like the men in green jackets who run it," sniffs AP's Tim Dahlberg. Women aren't finding many supporters among the male golf champs participating in the Masters. "What gender issue?" smiled Brit Lee Westwood. "I'm a man." (More Augusta National Golf Club stories.)

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