Augusta National admits 2 female members

FILE/STAFF
Condoleezza Rice watches golf during the 2009 Masters Tournament. The former U.S. Secretary of State accepted an invitation to join Augusta National Golf Club on Monday.
Monday, Aug 20, 2012 11:10 AM
Last updated Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 1:19 AM
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Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore will slip on green jackets when Augusta National Golf Club welcomes its newest members in October.

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At left, Darla Moore speaks to students at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. At right, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice smiles during a meeting with trade union leaders in Medellin, Colombia. 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 Rice and South Carolina financier Moore to become the first women in green jackets when the club opens for a new season in October.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
At left, Darla Moore speaks to students at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. At right, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice smiles during a meeting with trade union leaders in Medellin, Colombia. 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 Rice and South Carolina financier Moore to become the first women in green jackets when the club opens for a new season in October.

The private club that puts on the Masters Tournament announced Monday that Rice and Moore will become the first female members in the club’s 80-year history.

“This is a joyous occasion as we enthusiastically welcome Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National Golf Club,” Augusta National and Masters Tournament Chairman Billy Payne said in a prepared statement.

The selection of Rice and Moore might have been a surprise to some, but the two power brokers have long been mentioned as prospective members as the debate over Augusta National’s membership escalated in the past decade.

Both women are accustomed to breaking new ground.

Rice grew up in Birmingham, Ala., during the civil rights era and went on to become the national security adviser and secretary of state under President George W. Bush.

Moore was raised in rural South Carolina and rose to become the highest-paid woman in banking – one not afraid to play hardball with her male colleagues.

Augusta National is usually silent on all matters involving membership, but Monday’s announcement was a historic day for the club and for Payne.

Augusta National was founded by amateur golf star Bobby Jones and investment banker Clifford Roberts in 1932, and the first Masters was held in 1934. The club has always maintained its right to privacy on membership issues – it also went public when its first black member, Ron Townsend, was admitted in 1990 – but the issue boiled over a decade ago when a women’s advocacy group challenged the club.

Payne’s predecessor, Hootie Johnson, famously fought back.

“There may well come a day when women will be invited to join our membership, but that timetable will be ours and not at the point of a bayonet,” Johnson said in 2002.

On Monday, in a statement to his hometown Columbia newspaper, The State, Johnson applauded the news.

“This is wonderful news for Augusta National Golf Club, and I could not be more pleased,” Johnson said. “Darla Moore is my good friend, and I know she and Condoleezza Rice will enjoy the club as much as I have.”

Martha Burk, the activist who fought the club on the issue, said “it came sooner than I expected.”

“I thought they were going to try to outlast me,” Burk told The Associated Press. “And I really thought they would wait until the women’s movement would get no credit. But if we had not done what we did, this would not have happened now.”

Payne took over as chairman in 2006 and has instituted a number of initiatives to help expand golf and bring more people into the game. He was questioned in April about why the chief executive officer of IBM, Ginni Rommety, was not a member.

Previous chairmen of IBM, a tournament sponsor, had been invited to join Augusta National.

Rommety has not been invited to join the club, which has roughly 300 members. A club spokesman said that women have always been welcome as guests and are able to play the course and that any changes to the club’s facilities to accommodate the two new members will be seamless.

“These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf, and both are well-known and respected by our membership,” Payne said. “It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their green jackets when the club opens this fall.”

Rice, who lives in Stanford, Calif., said she was excited for the opportunity.

“I have long admired the important role Augusta National has played in the traditions and history of golf,” Rice said in a statement. “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.”

Moore, 58, is a businesswoman from Lake City, S.C. She is the vice president of Rainwater Inc., and the University of South Carolina’s business school is named in her honor.

“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,” Moore said in a statement. “Above all, Augusta National and the Masters Tournament have always stood for excellence, and that is what is so important to me. I am extremely grateful for this privilege.”

The selection of Rice and Moore was received with welcome arms from former Masters champions.

“I warmly welcome both Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National,” said six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus, who is also a member. “I am delighted they have accepted the invitation to be members. Everyone at Augusta National shares a similar passion for the game of golf, and I know they will be great additions to the club.”

Tiger Woods, the first minority golfer to win the Masters, knows Rice through their Stanford connections.

“I think the decision by the Augusta National membership is important to golf,” Woods said in a statement. “The club continues to demonstrate its commitment to impacting the game in positive ways. I would like to congratulate both new members, especially my friend Condi Rice.”

Three-time winner Gary Player echoed those sentiments.

“Change is the price of survival, as I have always said, and Chairman Billy Payne has made the right decision and we all agree with what he said is (a) joyous occasion,” Player said.

TIMELINE

DECEMBER 1932: Augusta National Golf Club opens.

SEPTEMBER 1990: TV executive Ron Townsend is invited to join Augusta National and becomes club’s first black member.

JUNE 2002: Chairman Hootie Johnson receives a letter from Martha Burk, the chairwoman of National Council of Women’s Organizations, about club’s lack of female members and issues a terse, three-paragraph reply.

AUG. 30, 2002: As the controversy escalates, Johnson releases sponsors Coca-Cola, IBM and Citigroup from their obligation.

APRIL 2003: Planned protest by Martha Burk and National Council of Women’s Organizations fizzles.

AUG. 27, 2004: Club announces that sponsors will return for 2005 Masters.

AUG. 20, 2012: Club announces that Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore are first two female members.

– From staff reports

Comments (53) Add comment
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afadel
547
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afadel 08/20/12 - 02:47 pm
2
6
Mushroom Cloud Over Fairway Bunker

We don't want the final proof to be a mushroom cloud of dust over a fairway bunker. https://twitter.com/huppohead/status/237586323916075008

allhans
24954
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allhans 08/20/12 - 02:57 pm
4
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I like it. They apparently

I like it. They apparently made the decision without giving in to a time frame demanded by outsiders.

southernguy08
532
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southernguy08 08/20/12 - 03:02 pm
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AUGUSTA NATIONAL
Unpublished

ABOUT DAMN TIME!!!!

draksig
167
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draksig 08/20/12 - 03:06 pm
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Of course, Burke is trying to

Of course, Burke is trying to take credit.

Conservative Man
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Conservative Man 08/20/12 - 03:25 pm
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Love it!!

Fantastic!!..Someone earlier mentioned timing....Story is the decision was made months ago to admit these two ladies. But the decision was made generally to admit a woman years ago. Martha Burke actually hurt the cause by her protests. Knowing the ANGC as I do, they were not going to be bullied into doing anything until THEY were ready........
Congrats Condi and Darla....Also hats off to the membership committee at the ANGC..

Chip 'TheDixieDove' Shirley
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Chip 'TheDixieDove' Shirley 08/20/12 - 04:02 pm
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Augusta National Admits 2 THE FACT THEY WERE WRONG!
Unpublished

And please cut the bluster big boys. You didn't do this 'Your Way' you've been shoved kicking and screaming into this decision and you know full well that shutting down the Masters from future ad money was not just possible, but also not the worst thing that might happen. THE PGA has to look after a game which looks more and more backwards and chauvinistic every day. Augusta Nat' knows full well that the same little arm-twist the PGA made that forced them to allow members of color if they were remain on the tour was rattling down the pike on this issue too!
http://thedixiedove.com/
Now why don't y'all be good old boys and have a little talk with your pals at Cypress Point who still ban Black members?
http://www.montereypeninsulagolf.com/Cypress+Point+Club

fedex227
11187
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fedex227 08/20/12 - 04:15 pm
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Oh no.
Unpublished

Isn’t this one of the signs of the Apocalypse?

harley_52
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harley_52 08/20/12 - 04:17 pm
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"Where's Maatha Burke? "

According to Austin Rhodes, she's taking credit for the Regent's National's decision to change their policy regarding women members. She said something like "I knew I could out wait them."

Riverman1
94192
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Riverman1 08/20/12 - 04:57 pm
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Afadel, I suppose I could

Afadel, I suppose I could report your posts as being personal attacks without proof if I were taking you seriously. You're joking I take it.

allhans
24954
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allhans 08/20/12 - 06:14 pm
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Ya think Martha is waiting

Ya think Martha is waiting for her invite?

avidreader
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avidreader 08/20/12 - 06:17 pm
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Good News!

I wish Mrs. Rice were running for President. B.O.'s ticket would be stamped, and he'd be heading back to Chicago.

Irony: two women become members at the National, and Richmond Academy has its first female Principal. Augusta is blessed.

JMonroe
5
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JMonroe 08/20/12 - 06:35 pm
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All Female Schools

Now all we need to do is convince America's left wing feminists and our reps that our tax money should in no way fund or support any school system that excludes tax payers based on race, sex ect ect. Keep in mind folks, all this controversy is surrounded by several all female schools within the state of GA that do not admit males but do have access to tax generated federal dollars. This "Boys Club" is a back seat issue compared to large schools with large endowments that actively discriminate against male tax payers.

KSL
144449
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KSL 08/20/12 - 06:36 pm
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I am well aware,

I am well aware, conservative man, timing of the vetting of potential members. It was the timing of the announcement that I found significant. If merely coincidental, I hope the most is made of it.

There was a long time family connection with Bobby Jones and my husband's family. We have a golf club that was tried out by Bobby long before there was an Augusta National.

palmetto1008
9782
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palmetto1008 08/20/12 - 07:26 pm
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Well, it seems that some
Unpublished

Well, it seems that some folks can stretch, even a national news event, to a personal anecdote.

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3102
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Karen Slater-McDaniel 08/20/12 - 07:29 pm
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Oh I'll be bashed by this but

Oh I'll be bashed by this but as much as I respect & like Rice, I think a private club has the right to exclude whomever they please. I didn't mind one bit that ANGC has always (until now) been exclusively male. Some things are better left as they are & I think this was one of those.

Gage Creed
19430
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Gage Creed 08/20/12 - 07:42 pm
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I wonder if I can say

I wonder if I can say AuGRUsta Home of the Regents....without being hit with a copyright infringement?

palmetto1008
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palmetto1008 08/20/12 - 07:49 pm
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Karen, a private club has the
Unpublished

Karen, a private club has the absolute right to accept or deny membership. And, I'm sorry they did not ask you before they accepted two women. But welcome to the 21st century...these old white men are finally realizing that power does not just lie with old white men.

Gage Creed
19430
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Gage Creed 08/20/12 - 08:04 pm
2
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Haters gonna Hate.....now

Haters gonna Hate.....now where did I leave my OLD WHITE GUYS RULE tshirt?

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3102
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Karen Slater-McDaniel 08/20/12 - 08:11 pm
3
1
They didn't have to ASK me

They didn't have to ASK me Palmetto & I could not care one bit who they admit ... male, female, black, Hispanic, aliens from planet Mars, etc... but my opinion is just that MY opinion. What old white men do behind closed doors or gates is none of my business either. I didn't burn my bra neither & still prefer a man to hold open a door for me too. Some women don't have to be completely equal & like a man to be a man ... but hey that's just me.

palmetto1008
9782
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palmetto1008 08/20/12 - 08:15 pm
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Yes, karen. If that works
Unpublished

Yes, karen. If that works for you...carry on. I'm sure your husband likes it that way, too.

justthefacts
25463
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justthefacts 08/20/12 - 08:17 pm
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palmetto @8:26

Word. I have yet to see any story of any kind that couldn't.

palmetto1008
9782
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palmetto1008 08/20/12 - 08:27 pm
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I know, just the facts.. It
Unpublished

I know, just the facts.. It used to irritate me..but now, I find it entertaining.

KSL
144449
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KSL 08/20/12 - 08:39 pm
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At least my anecdotes are

At least my anecdotes are true. So many of our sitting president's written and spoken anecdotes are lies or "mistakes he made."

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3102
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Karen Slater-McDaniel 08/20/12 - 08:39 pm
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Haha Palmetto ... that would

Haha Palmetto ... that would have be the FUNNIEST statement ever regarding my husband & myself ... very funny. If you read back over the months you would see the humor in those words. I am most definitely a free thinker AND speaker. My husband probably wishes I wasn't at times. Lol

justthefacts
25463
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justthefacts 08/20/12 - 08:41 pm
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Yep, palmetto

Me too.

KSL
144449
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KSL 08/20/12 - 08:51 pm
2
2
Obviously they will no longer

Obviously they will no longer be able to be described as "old white men" which, by the way, was never correct.

crackertroy
540
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crackertroy 08/20/12 - 09:00 pm
2
2
vote for Peebles tomorrow
Unpublished

vote for Peebles tomorrow

And yes I have no shame

JRC2024
10520
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JRC2024 08/20/12 - 10:50 pm
2
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I have always liked Ms. Rice.

I have always liked Ms. Rice. She will be a great asset to the club. Don't know much about Ms. Moore. Congrats to thew both of you.

rugerguy
216
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rugerguy 08/21/12 - 05:32 am
2
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Say what you really mean

Get a life Afadel. Your comments are inappropriate in this forum. Jokes about mushroom clouds are never funny. Accusing Dr. Rice of being a war criminal is not only inaccurate but has no relevance whatsoever to this topic. What was done then was done in what was thought as the best option for our national security, get over it already and move on.

strib1
134
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strib1 08/21/12 - 07:23 am
1
0
women

whats so good about this. its just like everthilng else , somebody telling u what to do .... i am sure nat did what they wanted but i dont think its such a big deal. and lady? burk cant take credit for it . she now needs to go to , well somewhere else and good bye. is he running for office? why not a women golfer??

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