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The Masters, IBM, and a Gender Dilemma

It's the traditional pre-Masters session held by the president of the Augusta National Golf Club, Billy Payne.

You see the club is in a little bit of a dilemma. It goes like this ...

  • 1. The club doesn't accept women as members.
  • 2. The club traditionally invites the CEO of the Masters sponsor to become a member.
  • 3. The sponsor of the tournament is IBM.
  • 4. The CEO of IBM is a woman.

Quite the intersection between sports and business and society issues, wouldn't you agree? Our very own Darren Rovell had a nice discussion about it with Golf Magazine's senior editor Mike Walker. He thinks even if they extend a membership to IBM's Virginia Rometty, we won't hear about it. (See video)

Walker also notes that Rometty is in the strange position of having to explain to female peers and shareholders why IBM is supporting a club that excludes them.

A few questions about this problem are likely to be lobbed at Payne. The expectation is that he will bob and weave and refuse to address queries about internal club matters.

We'll let you know what happens. Darren Rovell is there and will be tweeting about it (@darrenrovell). I'll let you in on a little journalism biz secret though. The press conferences where you think there will be fireworks tend to be duds.

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Allen Wastler is managing editor of CNBC.com. Follow him on Twitter @AWastler. You can catch his commentary on CNBC Radio. And check out his fiction.