For the first time in its 80-year history, Augusta National Golf Club has female members. The home of the Masters, under increasing criticism the last decade because of its all-male membership, invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to become the first women in green jackets when the club opens for a new season in October. Both women accepted. "This is a joyous occasion," Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said today.
"I have visited Augusta National on several occasions and look forward to playing golf, renewing friendships and forming new ones through this very special opportunity," said Rice, who is currently a professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Business and recently was appointed to the US Golf Association's nominating committee. A person with knowledge of club operations said Rice and Moore first were considered as members five years ago. Augusta National, which did not have a black member until 1990, is believed to have about 300 members. Moore, 58, first rose to prominence in the 1980s with Chemical Bank, and was the first woman to be profiled on the cover of Fortune Magazine. "Augusta National has always captured my imagination, and is one of the most magically beautiful places anywhere," she said in a statement.