The Masters 2012: IBM's Virginia Rometty overshadows Tiger Woods

This year’s Augusta Masters has already endured controversy, rain, mushy grass, and scalpers. What’s next? Photo: Fred Couples, Sean O'Hair, and Tiger Woods AP

VIENNA, Va.,  April 6, 2012 — Is there a curse on this year’s Masters? First there was the ongoing brouhaha over Virginia “Ginny” Rometty, CEO of IBM Corporation, one of the traditional sponsors of the Masters at Augusta, Ga. Traditionally, IBM’s chief officer is made a member of the Club, complete with the iconic green jacket.

But Ms. Rometty is…a woman, and no women are allowed to belong to the ol’ boys club that is the Masters. Feminist and psychologist Martha Burk found that out the hard way several years ago, when she went toe to toe with William “Hootie” Johnson, then Chairman of Augusta National Golf club, about the denial of admission of women to the club.

IBM CEO Virginia Rometty AP

If Ginni Rometty is excluded from the honorary membership strictly on the basis of gender, one thinks that Big Blue might find another deserving entity on which to pour its considerable million-dollar largesse. Or Club Chairman, Billy Payne, and his oft-quoted “membership” can, for once, do the right thing, and extend the green jacket olive branch to Ms. Rometty. Let’s not hedge our bets.

Never one to stay out of a controversy, even if he has no dog in the fight, President Obama sent word through Press Secretary Jay Carney that he (the President) obviously thought that women should be admitted to the Masters.

And the GOP me-too guy, former Gov. Mitt Romney, added his  two cents worth to the fray saying he agreed.

Other Signs of A Curse?

In addition to the Rometty controversy, over an inch of rain fell Wednesday in a terrific storm that soaked the lush, well tended grounds, making them unplayable for the time being. If that weren’t enough, a large tree fell on the restroom at the 16th hole, pretty well destroying it, although reconstruction began immediately.

The very early spring wreaked havoc on the beautiful azaleas which dot the hallowed yards of the Masters. No azaleas this year. What’s next? Pestilence? Locusts? Frogs?

It is hoped that the full complement of talented golfers will be able to withstand the curse. Tiger Woods will be there, Rory Mcllroy, Padraig Harrington and all of the big names in golf will have to play sans azaleas, and on a course whose grass is best described as mushy. It could be worse.

2011 Masters champ Charl Schwatzel tries on the green jacket. AP

The sun was at least shining, and the golfers seemed in good and jovial spirits. There was a smattering of bright, almost neon colored shirts, but the majority for some reason wore white shirts today, leading one wit to comment, “It looks like a bunch of male nurses out there.”

One of Phil Mickelson’s tee shots went off course around the 10th hole, and at least 20 people were charging around the ground-covered area, like so many snake hunters. With only five minutes to find the errant ball, he ended up taking a stroke and going on.

At the end of the day, Tiger was pretty far down the list, shooting even par, and only about 12 people had been arrested for scalping the most sought-after tickets to the tournament within 2,700 feet of the course.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s events.

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Martha M. Boltz

Martha Boltz is a frequent contributor  to the long running Civil War features in The Washington Times America At War feature in the print and online editions. She has been a regular contributor to the original Civil War Page and its successor page since 1994, and is a civil war buff, historian, and writer. "Someone said that if we don't learn about the past, we are condemned to repeat it," she said, "and there are lessons of all sorts inherent in this bloody four-year period of our country's history."  She is a member of several heritage and lineage groups, as well as the Montgomery County Civil War Round Table. Her standing invitation is, "come on down - check the blog - send me your comments and let's have fun with its history and maybe learn something at the same time."


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