Augusta National Golf Club announced today that the club will welcome its first two female members when the club opens for its new season in October. For years, the home of The Masters has resisted allowing women to join the private all-male golf club.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore have accepted to join the club and will be the first female members to don a green jacket in the club’s history. This move has been coming since 2002.
Martha Burk of the National Council of Women's Organizations wanted the club to add women members in 2002 and lead a small boycott of the 2003 Masters tournament. Former club chairman Hootie Johnson, chairman during Burk’s protest, dug his heels in once saying Augusta National might one day have a woman in a green jacket, "but not at the point of a bayonet."
The Masters lost television sponsorship for two years and the club paid CBS to broadcast the tournament commercial free for those two years. Johnson retired in 2006 and Billy Payne has been more open to allowing women than his predecessor.
"These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership," Payne said in a statement. "It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their green jackets when the club opens this fall. This is a significant and positive time in our club's history and, on behalf of our membership, I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome them and all of our new members into the Augusta National family."
In the ESPN article linked above, it states from private sources that women have been considered for membership five years ago. It is about time, Augusta National added women members and hopefully these two women will not be the only female members added.