I have to admit the whole Augusta National Golf Club and female member thing stopped me in my tracks. It seems so surreal somehow. This issue has arisen because of a tradition by the club to give IBM’s CEO club membership solely based of IBM’s status as key corporate sponsor as well as other ancillary contributions…….and since Augusta does not grant membership to females they are in a bit of a pickle given that IBM’s new CEO is female. The reality of course could be that Ms. Rometty may not personally care two hoots about being bestowed membership at Augusta……either because she may not be a golfer (now that would be a refreshing change for a business leader in general) or because the “honor” of this membership may just not that important to her.
However, in principle boys and girls, we have a huge issue. If the club departs from its norm of practice with IBM and IBM allows that to happen what does that say about the big picture of what rules the day in terms of the company’s respect and diversity position. In addition, this is not simply a private matter whatever Augusta Club leadership may say about it being a private entity. The sheer magnitude of the money that comes in from the Masters is staggering…..so they cannot be disingenuous. And as for CBS, other media, corporate sponsors, the golfers themselves, golf as a sport, the public itself…………come on ya’ll let’s get real on this issue. Exclusion because of one’s gender…….we are way beyond the time to let that one go…..