Obama thinks Augusta golf club should admit women

The sun rises over the Augusta National Golf Club house before practice rounds for the Masters golf tournament, April 4, 2012, in Augusta, Ga. AP Photo/Darron Cummings

With the Masters Tournament underway, the White House affirmed Thursday that President Obama thinks the Augusta National Golf Club should change its longstanding policy and admit women.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that while it's the club's decision, Mr. Obama's "personal opinion is that women should be admitted to the club."

"The president answered quite clearly to me that he believes Augusta should admit women," he said. "We're long past the time women should be excluded from anything."

The club has been closed to women since its founding in 1933. Its policy is once again under scrutiny since IBM -- one of the sponsors of the Masters -- has a new female CEO, Virginia Rometty. The club has traditionally invited the CEO of IBM to join.

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne on Wednesday wouldn't comment on whether the club would change its policy.

"As has been the case whenever that question is asked, all issues of membership have been and are subject to private deliberations of the members," Payne said. "That statement remains accurate and that remains my statement."

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