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Obama, Romney say women should be allowed at Augusta National

With the opening round of The Masters underway Thursday, President Obama and his likely Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, became the latest to endorse female membership at the Augusta National Golf Club, where the tournament is held.

"I am not a member of Augusta. I don't know if I would qualify. My golf game is not that good," Romney said during a campaign stop in Tunkhannock, Penn. "Certainly, if I were a member, if I could run Augusta, which isn't likely to happen, of course I'd have women into Augusta."

Fielding a question about female membership earlier Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said it was "up to the club to decide" but that the president's "personal opinion is that women should be admitted."

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"We're kind of long past the time when women should be excluded from anything," Carney said.

Women can play at Augusta National as guests but have been denied membership since the club opened in 1933. The subject of female membership resurfaces almost every year during The Masters, but the debate has escalated this year because longtime Augusta sponsor IBM has a new female chief executive, and the last four CEOs, all men, have been offered membership.

Virginia Rometty, the new CEO of IBM, has not lobbied publicly for membership.


Callum Borchers can be reached at callum.borchers@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.