(CNN) – President Barack Obama picked sides in the ongoing discussion over whether women should be allowed to join Augusta National Golf Club, via White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Thursday.
"His personal opinion is women should be admitted," Carney said during the press briefing. "Obviously it is up to the club to decide, but his personal opinion is women should be admitted to the club."
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The private Georgia golf club, which hosts the Masters Tournament that started Thursday, has not allowed women members since it opened in 1933.
The debate landed in the national spotlight recently because IBM, the tournament's sponsor, has a new female CEO, Virginia Rometty, and the club has always extended membership to the company's officers. Rometty has not stated publicly whether she is interested in club membership.
Critics have called on August National to offer Rometty its traditional jacket, while Augusta's chairman has dodged the prickly issue of female membership.
"All issues of membership are now and have historically been subject to the private deliberation of members," Billy Payne said Wednesday.
Although no women are thought to be members, they are allowed to play the course as guests.
- CNN's Emanuella Grinberg contributed to this report.