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Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Billy Payne dodged 10 questions from reporters over why the exclusive club — which hosts the Masters golf tournament this week — continues to exclude women.
“Well, as has been the case … whenever that question is asked, all issues of membership are now and have been historically subject to the private deliberations of the members, and that statement remains accurate and remains my statement,” Payne said.
The lack of female membership is especially noteworthy now. Virginia Rometty is the new chief executive officer of IBM. Not only is the company a sponsor of the Masters, the last four male CEO’s of IBM have been members of the Augusta National Golf Club. But Rometty isn’t a member.
Payne talked about the need to grow the game of golf, yet he kept deflecting questions over why his club keeps women out.
Augusta isn’t breaking any laws. But it’s important to point out that the Augusta National Golf Club has about 300 members at any given time. It’s an invitation-only club. But it hasn’t had a female member since it opened in 1933. And it wasn’t until 1990 that the club accepted it’s first African-American member.
On Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that President Obama’s “personal opinion is that women should be admitted” to the golf club. Carney said it was “up to the club to decide,” but Obama told him he personally thinks women should be welcome.
“We’re kind of long past the time when women should be excluded from anything,” Carney said.
Augusta National is out of touch with the rest of society.
And the fact the private club isn’t breaking any laws gives it the license to continue its Neanderthal ways.