PR crisis: Site of Masters golf tournament won’t allow women

The CEO of IBM—one of the golf tournament’s sponsors—isn’t allowed as a member of Augusta National Golf Club. UPDATED

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As usual, IBM is among the tournament’s three sponsors. The company’s last four CEOs—all men—have been members of Augusta National Golf Club, where the tournament is held, and they’ve worn the club’s iconic green blazers. IBM’s current CEO, Virginia “Ginni” Rometty, is a woman.

Thing is, Augusta hasn’t admitted a woman to its ranks in eight decades. (In 1990, it began admitting African-Americans—as long as they weren’t female.)

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Rometty is expected to attend the tournament.

The media, led by Bloomberg News, raised the issue last week, and at the annual news conference on the eve of the tournament, Augusta Chairman Billy Payne was questioned about the issue. “All issues of membership remain the private deliberations of the membership,” he said. “That statement remains accurate.”

In other words, he refused to comment.

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