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“"What IBM needs to do is draw a line in the sand -- 'We're either going to pull our sponsorship and membership and any ancillary activities we support with the tournament, or the club is going to have to honor our CEO the way they have in the past," Burk said. "There's no papering over it. They just need to step up and do the right thing. "They need to not pull that argument that they support the tournament and not the club. That does not fool anybody, and they could undermine their new CEO." Rometty succeeds Sam Palmissano at IBM, which runs the Masters' website from the bottom floor of the media center. According to a list published by USA Today in 2002, the previous three CEOs also were members -- Louis Gertsner, John Akers and John Open. As the corporate sponsors became the target, Johnson wound up doing away with TV sponsorship for two years at the Masters to keep the corporate partners -- IBM, Coca-Cola and Citigroup -- out of the fray. Only IBM returned as a TV sponsor for the 2005 Masters. The others were SBC Communications and ExxonMobil. Burk said she would not be surprised if IBM pressured Rometty to say she doesn't want to be a member. "Really, I don't think it's her responsibility," Burk said. "It's the board of directors. They need to take action here. They don't need to put that on her. They need to say, 'This is wrong. We thought the club was on the verge of making changes several years ago, and we regretfully end our sponsorship to maintain her credibility and the company brand.' " Augusta National does not ban women. They can play the golf course, but no woman has worn an Augusta green jacket, a status symbol in business and golf. Rometty is said to play golf sparingly. Her greater passion is scuba diving. She now becomes a central figure. "We have a face, we have a résumé, we have a title and we have a credible reason to do it that doesn't involve Martha Burk," Burk said. Burk said she is no longer chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations. She had planned to step down until the first flap with the Masters began in summer 2002. Now, she said she runs the Corporate Accountability Project for the council, a project born from her battle with Augusta. Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.
What IBM needs to do is draw a line in the sand -- 'We're either going to pull our sponsorship and membership and any ancillary activities we support with the tournament, or the club is going to have to honor our CEO the way they have in the past.” -- Martha Burk