There was a rare moment of bipartisanship on the campaign trail Thursday when both President Obama and his likely Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, agreed that the most storied tournament in professional golf should end its club’s decades-long ban on female members.
On the first day of the Masters tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, reporters asked the White House and Romney to weigh in the controversy that has long surrounded the tournament.
Both men said that yes, the club should open its doors to women.
“His personal opinion is women should be admitted to the club,” White House spokesperson Jay Carney said at his Thursday briefing.
On the campaign trail in Pennsylvania, Romney was also asked to weigh in.
“Certainly if I were a member and if I could run Augusta … of course I’d have women,” Romney said.
Despite national protest campaigns in the past, Augusta National’s leaders have been adamant about keeping the ban in place. But as New York Times reported Wednesday, the ascension of woman to the top job at one of America’s biggest companies may be forcing the club’s hand when it comes to the men-only requirement:
The club was given the cultural equivalent of a conceded putt this year when I.B.M., one of the tournament’s three corporate sponsors, along with Exxon Mobil and AT&T, chose Virginia M. Rometty as its new chief executive. The company’s four previous chief executives had been extended a club membership, so a precedent had been set.