The Masters: Barack Obama urges Augusta to admit women

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PRESIDENT Barack Obama believes women should be allowed to join the all-male Augusta National Golf Club, the White House said yesterday, adding pressure on the exclusive 80-year-old organisation to change its restrictive policy.

“His personal opinion is that women should be admitted,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, saying he had spoken to Obama about the issue. “We are kind of long past the time when women should be excluded from anything.”

The issue of whether women should be allowed to become members at the home of the Masters has been around for years. But it took on added significance after Ginni Rometty became chief executive officer of IBM in January.

IBM, the world’s largest technology services company, is a long-standing sponsor of the Masters and its past four CEOs have been granted membership to Augusta National. The club now faces a dilemma of whether to change its policy to allow Rometty to join or spurn one of its major sponsors.

“It is obviously up to the club to decide, but his [Obama’s] personal opinion is women should be admitted to the club,” said Carney.