The Augusta National Golf Club this week announced that it has admitted two women into its previously male-only club. Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore will become the first two women admitted into the Augusta National Golf Club this October. Augusta National is the golf club that hosts the Masters Tournament.
“This is a joyous occasion as we enthusiastically welcome Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National Golf Club,” said Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National.
Rice is the former Secretary Secretary of State under the George W. Bush administration and is now a professor of Political Economy at Stanford University. Moore is a partner of Rainwater, a private investment firm founded by her husband, Richard Rainwater. Rice is a known golf enthusiast. Rice's Facebook profile contains references to golf and includes photos she took at the Regions Tradition Celebrity Pro-Am this past June.
“I have long admired the important role Augusta National has played in the traditions and history of golf,” said Rice. “I also have an immense respect for the Masters Tournament and its commitment to grow the game of golf, particularly with youth, here in the United States and throughout the world. Golf is a wonderful source of enjoyment for me, and I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to grow my love for this great game.”
Augusta National's 80-year history is overwhelmingly white and male. The club was not open to black members until 1990. The club has come under fire for being explicitly male-only since at least 2002, when the National Council of Women's Organizations sent a letter of protest to then-chairman of Augusta National Hootie Johnson, who vehemently defended the club's male-only policy. The membership of Augusta National, however, have been putting increasing pressure on the club, and women can now be granted membership.