Augusta National admits first two female members, including Condoleezza Rice
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Augusta National admits first two female members, including Condoleezza Rice

Augusta National moves slowly, but deliberately. They took a deliberate step toward gender equality recently when they admitted the first two female members in the club's history.

The home club of the Masters has admitted former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina businesswoman Darla Moore as members, according to the Associated Press. Rice and Moore will officially become members when the club opens for play again in October.

"This is a joyous occasion," Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said Monday.

"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."

Rice, 57, turning 58 on Nov. 1, had been rumored to be a likely candidate to become the first female member of the club though, according to the AP, both she and Moore,58, had been considered for membership as soon as 2007.

Moore was president of and is a partner in the private investment firm Rainwater, Inc. In the late 1990s, she was twice named in the "Top 50 Most Powerful Women in American Business" by Fortune Magazine.

Rice was spotted at the Masters in 2009, quoted by an Augusta TV station as in awe of the club's beauty.

"Absolutely beautiful....everyone says that it's special... and it's one of the few places I've been, that it actually more than lives up to what people say about it," Rice said.

That same year, Rice joined a pair of new clubs in Birmingham, Ala., near her hometown, including Shoal Creek - the once-controversial club that did not admit members based on race, but is now host of the Regions Tradition on the Champions Tour. Rice is honorary chairperson of the tournament.


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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

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