Shortly after President Bush made public his nomination of John Snow for Secretary of the Treasury on Monday, Snow announced his plans to quit Augusta National Golf Club. Snow, the chair of the major railroad company CSX Corp, must still be confirmed by the US Senate. White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer said that membership in a club like Augusta would not be considered a disqualifying factor, and neither would resigning from such a membership, according to the Associated Press. National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO) chair Martha Burk, who has been leading the campaign to open Augusta’s membership to women, told AP that, “Mr. Snow has done exactly what he should do. No one in the public eye É should be willing to be identified with sex discrimination.” Snow is considered to be a moderate Republican, and Democrats predict he will be confirmed easily, according to Cox News Service.
Late last month, former head of CBS Thomas Wyman quit Augusta to protest its male-only membership policy. He said that he hoped his decision to resign would prompt other members to speak out against the club’s policy. Wyman estimates that about a quarter of the club’s 300 members believe that women should be admitted.
Augusta National is the site of the Masters, an event sanctioned by the PGA Tour, though the PGA does not own or run the Masters. The NCWO argues that by sanctioning an event held at a club that practices such blatant discrimination, the PGA violates its own anti-discrimination policies. The Feminist Majority is a member of NCWO, along with 170 other groups making its total membership close to seven million.