Boehner, Member Of All-Male Golf Club, Steers Clear Of Augusta Debate

The opening day of the Masters tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia Thursday provided a rare moment of agreement between Mitt Romney and President Obama that the club should drop its ban on female members.

For House Speaker John Boehner, the questions were a bit more awkward.A spokesperson for Boehner told Politico he has “never heard [Boehner] discuss” the ban of female members at Augusta National, which has been a source of great controversy for the club around Masters time for years.

“Pressed again” on the ban, Boehner’s spokesperson “demurred,” according to Politico.

That could be because Boehner — an avid golfer — is himself a member of an all-male golf club. The AP reported last year that Boehner has “been chided for his membership at Burning Tree, an all-male golf club in Maryland.”

More on the club, from a 2003 ESPN report:

Set on the western edge of the District of Columbia, in suburban Bethesda, Md., Burning Tree is 244 exquisitely manicured acres and fewer than a dozen miles from the epicenter of the nation’s capital. The club opened in 1923 after, the story goes, a male foursome from the Chevy Chase Country Club was stuck behind a slow-playing group of female golfers.

When Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court in 1981, she ended a streak at Burning Tree; previously, Supreme Court justices had always been extended honorary memberships to the club. Despite her polished 12-handicap, cultivated on the challenging layouts in Scottsdale, Ariz., O’Connor never crossed the threshold.

The ESPN report noted that at Burning Tree, “Beyond the no-women membership policy, women are not even allowed on the grounds as guests.”

Back in 2003, ESPN’s Greg Garber wrote that “Somehow, Burning Tree has flown under the radar of the women’s groups who have protested the all-male membership at Augusta National.”

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