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Bloomberg: ANGC Faces A "Quandary"

With IBM promoting Ginni Rometty to CEO after Sam Palmisano's retirement, Bloomberg's Beth Jinks and Michael Buteau suggest the club will once again face questions about its all-male membership since IBM CEO's have traditionally been members and the company is a tournament partner.

Rometty, who does play golf, though not frequently, inherited the sponsorship from predecessor Sam Palmisano. IBM is featured in the tournament’s TV commercials and runs its website, mobile-phone applications and media-center technology. Palmisano serves on Augusta’s technology tournament committee. He remains IBM’s chairman -- a role Rometty is likely also to assume upon his retirement.

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Reader Comments (65)

Mysogeny exists at ANGC?
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHuh?
They probably don't notice these things at ANGC, but IBM isn't quite what it once was.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterstyled
Let's hope the Augusta National Golf Club, a private club, succumbs to the bullying tactics of the PC crowd that favors all things must be equal. BTW, the AGNC could replace IBM with another corporation in an instant IMO.

And to "styled" ... Thankfully, IBM "isn't quite what it once was" -- it's even better!
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPC Hater
Just a guess, but I doubt this "quandry" is a surprise at AGNC. Discussions and likely decisions on how to handle this situation have probably already been made. I would also imagine that Sam has had a discussion with Ginni.

She may or may not be be extended a membership offer, however it won't be a result of the Bloomberg piece, or any other media pressure. The club may face questions, but their response usually is "We do not discuss membership issues, next question."
AGNC is not like any other private members club - for example it enjoys a role in determining the Golf Ranking according to the OWGR website The reality is that the membership has it both ways and until it stops that I welcome attempts to 'bully' it into abiding by the same rules that any other club which hosts a PGA Tour sanctioned tournament has to (and I consider that the same applies to the clubs in the UK which host the Open like Muirfield, Troon, and St. Georges).
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterbs
@rb: Well, Hootie, for one (not the Darius Rucker "Hootie"). As for "private," not so much, as long as the Masters exists. Cypress and Pine Valley, yes. Burning Tree and Preston Trail, with a naked Mickey Mantle in the dining room? Really, who gives a flip about them. ANGC, R&A? Can't really be private when it suits you and then depend on the public for your (very large) income. That world has changed, for the better, and this has nothing to do with PC.
Who gives a flying f*&%? Well, my golf playing wife, for one. The daughter of an HCEG member, she refuses to set foot on the grounds at Muirfield since being made to wait outside on a rainy, cold April day until her father or I had returned from changing to collect her. She cares about sexism in golf clubs, as, I guess, do most female golfers.

Or do rb, PC Hater and 7.0 mean "which men give a flying f*&%?" If so, they and their anachronystic, male cronies are welcome to slink back off to their comfy, anachronystic, male only clubs. The issue, though, as bs rightly points out, is that ANGC has influence in the world game (the British clubs to a lesser extent) and yet discriminates against half of the world's poulation based on gender. In a sane world that would be unacceptable.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPsycho
@r.b. and 7.0 - the only thing worse than active and honest misogyny is your combination of casual acceptance and denial.

Were AGNC genuinely a private members club then I'd defend to the hilt their right to exclude all-comers on any basis they chose. But the reality is that the position they occupy in Golf, a major sport, is anything but that of a simple private members club. It maybe that their stance is justified in technical legal terms - I don't know, I am not an expert - but on moral terms it's execrable. They know it, and so do their sponsors who backed down temporarily a few years ago. It's sad that the support of people like you mean that women are still apparently beyond the pale in 2012.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterbs
Hootie's mean Billy? I prefer the Darius Hootie over the Hootie Hootie. Anyway, who gives a Hoot?
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterrb

"I play golf with my wife every Sunday...guess what?...she doesn't give a flying f*%& either."

Her failure for whatever reason to recognise an important principe doesn't make your stance right.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterbs
Psycho and bs--- Bully for you! Well said. I tire of the topic every Spring.

It's insulting that ANGC plays the "we're private and we'll do it our way" card when they push around the entire media system and public. Then, they demand to have it all their way to be in the public eye for the Masters and take as much money as possible from the public trough through ad dollars, etc.

My wife and daughters are angered each year during the Masters, realizing that they can play at our club, but could not be deemed worthy to be members of ANGC simply because of a chromosome difference. Get with the times, ANGC!
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPete the Luddite
If IBM handled all the scoring responsibilities for a thousand years it wouldn't be as good as Unisys was.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Smith
How come all these female CEO look like Meg Whitman? Ick.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterA3
A new candidate emerges for Sexist Comment of the Day: Congrats to @A3. Useless tripe of a comment...
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPete the Luddite
It should embarrass all golf fans, and major players in the world of golf, that a club with a great deal of pull and visibility in the sport discriminates based on gender. Augusta national is lauded by many and spoken of in reverential tones, what message does that send to Women and Girls? You are not good enough to be members at one of the best clubs in the country.

Two years ago, Billy Payne sat at a press conference and ripped Tiger for failing to be a good role model. Time for Augusta to live up to it's own message of trying to grow the game and stop discriminating against 50% of the countries population, based on their chromosome combination.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
How come my "flying f*%& gets censored and Psychos' flying f*%&s get left in? C'mon let some in and not others...just like ANGC :o)
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterrb
Note to ANGC members.

Ignore all talk about memberships and women.

Ignore all talk about architecture, Mackenzie and course set up.

Ignore all financial discussions and television contracts.

Ignore all discussions about corporate sponsors, IBM and Ginni Rometty.

Ignore all discussions about ANGC.

Show up, pay your dues and shut up!
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBilly Payne
Would this conversation be the same isthere was a sign on the gates which said

"No Blacks or Jews allowed"

It is the same thing.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStiggy
Would this conversation be the same if there was a sign on the gates which said

"No Blacks or Jews allowed"

It is the same thing.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStiggy
Maybe she'll get a nice diamond bracelet consolation prize like the one the R&A gave to Judy Bell in lieu of membership. (Wouldn't it be cool if someday that bracelet were displayed on the door of the Women's Locker Room in the R&A clubhouse?)

I support the right of private clubs to discriminate on any basis whatsoever. However, I can't imagine why anyone would want to be a member of a club that discriminates based on gender, race, or sexual orientation.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTed Mitchell
If you're a private club and want to discriminate there's nothing I can do about it (but don't expect me to think you're wonderful people). But if you want to discriminate you shouldn't be allowed to hold big public events, or influence a sports governance. And the sport in question shouldn't countenance discrimination, which it appears to do when it supports and listens to clubs with discriminatory policies.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
so who will be taking a stance and not watching ?

cue crickets
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterlongirons

"so who will be taking a stance and not watching ?

cue crickets"

I take your point, but if that's all you can say in support of ANGC it's pretty lame isn't it?
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterbs
Hey, I'm a white male age 45 and they discriminate against me because I'm not a CEO or worth millions! In fact, based on those Wall Street protesters, they discriminate against 99% of the population. Outrageous.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS

How does one enforce the 'not allowed to hold big public events' rule? I suppose you would have to pressure CBS, the law enforcement agencies that are needed to handle traffic and crowd control etc.

Likewise, you would need to pressure the public entities (USGA and R&A) into shunning ANGC on the sports-governance side. But, given that The R&A (the ruling body) and The Royal & Ancient Golf Club (discriminatory golf club) remain closely linked, I don't think you would have much success on that front. If some very prominent professional golfers, men and women, chose to boycott the Masters, the U.S. Open, the U.S. Women's Open, and The [British] Open to protest the discrimination then perhaps some traction could be gained. That seems highly unlikely though.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTed Mitchell

'suppport' is the wrong word... i believe they are a private institution.. the same way that I believe curives and the 'ladies golf club of toronto' are private institutions (soppsed to be a great course.. men can play as guests.. just no locker rooms and have to park in a different spot)

I've yet to hear a convincing argument as to why augusta isn't a private institution... I won't rebut every argument I've heard but just repeat that I've yet to hear a a convincing argument

do I think tey should have women members.. you bet... do I support the right for them to make their own decision ... you bet... given the opportunity to be a member (lets not laugh too loud) would I take it ? I honesly don't know ... if Iwere ever in that position I'm sure I'd be in the position to be a member of most any golf club an dI probably would choose one where my family could all be members

I have no grand statement to make on the whole thing but I find it disingenuous to disagree with what they're doing.. but then watch the tournament anyhow
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterlongirons
wow.. type much ! note to self.... proofread
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterlongirons
What's the big deal. Like Brian S said, it's not only women that cannot seek membership, it's basically 99.9% of all human beings. Their club, their rules, their business. If it bothers some then don't support the event or pressure advertisers.Still the best tooniment of the year, every year.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKenny V
"My wife and daughters are angered each year during the Masters"

My wife and I are overjoyed each year during the is our favorite golf week of the year. Anger? Please.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterrb
hard to believe they still dont have a female member
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
The difference is that even if I make millions of dollars, I still wont have the opportunity to become a member, because I was born a woman. Sorry, but they discriminate against me too because I don't have money is a disingenuous argument. There is a difference between discrimination and membership exclusivity.

@Ted, if you wanted to force them to change their membership requirements that's exactly how you'd do it. The USGA two decades ago said that clubs who practiced discriminatory membership policies couldn't hold the US Open. Seems reasonable to me. It bothers me greatly that the R&A is a governing body in the sport, and as a club discriminates against half the population.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf

and even if I have the 79.99 a month I can't go to the curves gym ...

I just don't see the difference...
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterlongirons

Personally, I like the grandeur of the tournament. That alternates with the nausea I endure from the over-the-top pious sanctity in which the tournament is treated (the use of the term "patrons", "second cut", counting the words per minute of broadcasters, etc.). It's a beautiful course with a great tradition...with respect to the game of golf itself. Outside of that, it feels like a group of constipated old rich men trying to control the media to further bolster their own egos and wallets.

I've been struggling with it, and will likely NOT watch this year, in a show of respect for my family over the membership issue. Will it suck to miss the tourney itself? Yeah, sure. You know what, though? I'd far rather take a stand and show resolve for my daughters and teach that life lesson than be a hypocrite. Will my stand make a difference to the ANGC? No, but it will make a difference to my daughters and that's worth a hell of a lot more.

For the record, more on my experience taking a stand on women in golf. Years ago, I had to argue with our golf club to have a girls division in our annual junior championship. They expected my 10-yr old daughter to play from the white tees against 10- 14 year old boys. Ultimately, they agreed to have a girls division and play them from appropriate tees. My daughter won the event that first year. Since then, the turnout for girls has blown up over the last 5 years to the point that they have subdivisions by age now: participation is nearly as high as it is for the boys.

@rb: "Anger? Please"'re damn right.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPete the Luddite
There's a simple solution.

They can extend a membership to her husband and then he can invite her.

03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
Of course the way Corporate America is now they could just wait a year and she will probably have been fired.
Problem gone!!
03.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStiggy
@longirons curves is discriminating, so is Pine Valley, but where did I say they weren't? (there are reasons hat curves does what it does, mainly that men can be jerks at the gym, but I don't belong & never have, also the world gym federation - made that up - doesn't hold them up as a model gym, or host a prestigious gym championship there)

Golf fans should be embarrassed that this tournament and club that is help up as a best of the best discriminates. It sends a message to women that they aren't good enough. If we want more women to participate or to take their kids to golf practice, golf needs stop making them feel like second class citizens quite so often.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Is Elling saying that he knows for a fact that it is policy for GE CEO's to get membership offer? got some issues Petey boy...calm down and enjoy life.
03.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterrb
rb: are you old enough to remember when employment notices could read "Female Help Wanted"? I don't know if you are a man or woman or parent, but would you like your daughter to confront that at every turn? Or be required to behave like the women in "Mad Men" to get ahead (I admit to never having seen the show, but I can read)? I suppose your answer is "Who gives a hoot?"

And yes, I did mean that Hootie, of the "Hootie and Martha Comedy Hour." Never have two antagonists deserved each other so much. On the other hand, William P. Payne certainly does recognize the corner ANGC has painted itself into and I expect he will extricate his organization from the "situation" with all deliberate speed (that's an allusion to something ANGC has already taken care of, btw; you can look it up).

Pete: Just get rid of the TV and take the family to the golf course. I have found that Masters weekends are great for the playing of golf rather than the watching of golf. And if you must, the TV will be on somewhere in the clubhouse.
And there goes next year's ticket lottery. Again.

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