IBM, Romney, Obama & the 'Masters'

As pro-golfers enter the second day of the annual Masters tournament, politics and a high-profile woman CEO seem to be capturing more headlines than the players.

As pro-golfers enter the second day of the annual Masters tournament, politics and a high-profile woman CEO seem to be capturing more headlines than the players.

The annual golf tournament is played at Augusta National club in Georgia each year. The club does not allow women members, something that I don't recall making headlines in the past. But in an election year where phrases like the "GOP war on women," and questions over the morality of working women and contraception are being raised in the presidential race, no candidate was going to let this go.

Both President Obama and Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney said they believe women should be admitted to Augusta.

Complicating matters is the fact that IBM, a longtime sponsor of the tournament, went and got itself a woman CEO recently, Virginia Rometty. In the past, IBM CEOs have been extended a membership to the club (along with the iconic green jacket, pictured), but what the heck are they supposed to do with a woman CEO? While she hasn't commented on the situation, Rometty is expected to attend the Masters, says The Wall Street Journal.

The club has said membership selection is a private discussion among its members, and is staying mum for now.

Give me a break. Augusta is being handed a gift. A chance to enter the modern world, and demonstrate it understands the world has changed, and that it acknowledges the incredible women golfers of the world. And it is being given the perfect opportunity to step painlessly into this new modern world with an incredible CEO. IBM's CEO appointment is making the decision for Augusta.

Sadly, I'm afraid the golf club will squander this opportunity to rise to the occasion as it were. Instead, they'll likely have to bow to pressure later, making the decision less genuine.

Sidebar: Note the Jon Iwata (head of marcomms at IBM) photo credit on this image of Rometty.

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