It’s back as a hot topic of discussion again at the Masters this year; Should Augusta National allow women to become members? It’s been the board’s policy to this point that the club remain exclusively male. Hell they only allowed the first black member to join back in 1990, so it looks like the possibility of seeing the ladies playing Augusta National is a ways off. However, because IBM’s title sponsorship of the the Masters guarantees club membership for it’s corporate officers, and one of the top exec’s at IBM, Ginni Rometty, is a woman, this put’s the good ol’ boys in Georgia in quite a pinch. Do they amend their policy and grand Rometty a membership, while forever changing the history of their beloved country club? Or do they stand firm and risk losing IBM as the Masters major sponsor, as well as the top male executives at IBM who already have been given membership? Oh this puts Billy Payne and the AN board in quite a difficult position.
Then there’s the question of why does the PGA tour sanction an event at a venue which discriminates against women? This certainly isn’t the image that the PGA tour wants to be associated with, but it’s kind of like the elephant in the room that everyone just tries to ignore. Well unfortunately this year, the elephant is making a lot of noise and starting to break things, so it’s going to be difficult to sweep this issue under the rug much longer. Personally, I like the traditions of the Masters. I’m fine with it being a “Male Only Club”, but when there’s a policy that sponsor exec’s get memberships, and you’ve got women in top spots, it’s hard to have two sets of rules.
What do you think, should Augusta National make an exception and allow Ms. Rometty to become a member? Will this set an unwanted precedent and open the flood gates to having more women join? And will the LPGA be knocking on the door next to hold the Women’s Masters at the hallowed course?