Augusta National Golf Club adds Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as first female members

condoleezza-rice-darla-moora-augusta-national.jpgAugusta National Golf Club, best known as the annual host of The Masters golf tournament, has admitted female members for the first time since it opened its doors 80 years ago.

The first two female members are Darla Moore, vice president of investment company Rainwater and the the first woman to be profiled on the cover of Fortune magazine, and Condoleezza Rice, who served as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State under President George W. Bush.

Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National, says in a statement, "This is a joyous occasion. These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership. 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."

Augusta National is believed to have roughly 300 members. The issue of female membership has been in the news frequently over the years, most recently when Virginia Rometty was appointed the first female CEO of IBM in January 2012, which is one of the Masters' corporate sponsors. The previous four CEOs for IBM had all been Augusta National members, but Rometty was seen on the final day of the Masters in a pink jacket, not a green jacket (which are only for members). It's interesting that Rometty is not one of the first female members at Augusta.

Moore says of her membership, "I am fortunate to have many friends who are members at Augusta National, so to be asked to join them as a member represents a very happy and important occasion in my life. Above all, Augusta National and the Masters tournaments have always stood for excellence, and that is what is so important to me."

And Rice adds, "I have long admired the important role Augusta National has played in the traditions and history of golf. 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."

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images, Fortune
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