The Augusta National Golf Club, who is in the midst of hosting one of the world's most, if not the most, prestigious professional golf tournaments, the Master's, is under scrutiny for its refusal to admit women as members.

In fact, President Barrack Obama has voiced his belief that women should be allowed membership at Augusta National, according to CNN.

The Georgia golf club has undergone national scrutiny because IBM's top executive, Ginni Rometty, is a woman and IBM is one of the leading sponsors of the golf tournament.

Further, the real issue arises because IBM's sponsorship deal allows membership for all of its officers, yet this anti-female obstacle stands in the way.

President Obama said that, although he believes that it is up to those who run Augusta National to refuse to admit women, as it is a private organization, he still feels that the club should admit women.

When presidential candidate Mitt Romney was asked about admitting women to Augusta National he said, "I am not a member of Augusta. I don't know if I would qualify. My golf game is not that good. 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."

During his annual media session Wednesday, Billy Payne, chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, skirted around directly addressing Rometty.

"Well, as has been the case, whenever that question is asked, all issues of membership are now and have historically been subject to the private deliberation of members," said Payne. "That statement remains accurate; it remains my statement."

This is not the first time that Augusta National's exclusionary policy has become the subject of public debate.

9 years ago women's rights activist Martha Burk tried to change the exclusionary policy when she showed up at the Augusta entrance to lead a series of protests against men-only membership.

Her attempts, though admirable, were of no avail.

The difference between 9 years ago and the now is that Augusta National now has a financial incentive to admit women because if they don't the Master's could risk losing one of its biggest sponsors.

So I guess, Payne and company are in a bit of a catch-22.

It will be interesting to see if the members of this private club will continue to stick steadfastly by their exclusionary club principles, or whether they will bend as a result of potential economic consequences.

What do you think?

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