Master's 2012: Sexism Must End at Augusta National

 @authorhm on March 30 2012 1:22 PM

Wouldn't it be nice to see Virginia Rometty, IBM's new chief executive officer, make an appearance at Augusta National Golf Club in a green jacket during the 2012 Masters? 

No woman has ever been a member of the private club that hosts golf's most prestigious tournament. While a lack of minorities was addressed in 1990 when Ron Townsend became the first black member of the club, women remained excluded from membership at Augusta.

Since its opening in 1933, there has never been a female member. It has probably never even come close. Its only thought, or non-consideration, was made public in 2002 by Martha Burk, then-chair of the National Council on Women's Organizations, when she contested the sexism of the club to former chairman William "Hootie" Johnson. The result was Johnson reaffirming the club's stance on a male-only membership.

Tennis had its own version of Augusta National: the Westside Tennis Club founded in 1892 in Forest Hills, NY. The club hosted the United States Lawn Tennis Association National Championship, later renamed the U. S. Open, from 1915 to 1977. 

The Westside Tennis Club included female members in the early 1900's but limited their number, status, and voting rights. But it has also come a long way from when it denied admission to Ralph Bunche, an African-American scientist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, and his son, membership in 1959. 

Augusta should follow the lead of the Westside Tennis Club and start allowing female membership. It's been too long for such an exclusionary practice to still be in effect.

According to USA Today, the past four chief executives of IBM, which is a major sponsor of the Masters Tournament, have been given membership.

Why not open the doors to Rometty? 

It's as good time as any to end the sexist history of golf's most famous golf club.