Will membership at Augusta National ever be extended to women?

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AUGUSTA, Ga. - With the 2012 Masters Tournament beginning on Thursday at the Augusta National Golf Club, the discussion about the club's lack of female members has begun again.

The topic is especially making news this year, after IBM appointed Virginia Rometty as CEO. Traditionally, Augusta National has invited the CEO of IBM, one of the sponsors of the tournament, to be a member.

During his "State of the Masters" speech on Wednesday, club Chairman Billy Payne dodged questions about the possibility of the club allowing female membership at any point in the future.

"Well, as has been the case, whenever that question is asked, all issues of Membership are now and have been historically subject to the private deliberations of the Members, and that statement remains accurate and remains my statement," Payne said after being asked if he ever saw the policy changing.

Payne insisted that private deliberations regarding membership issues are not publicly discussed. He refused to answer questions about the message it sends to women golfers.

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