After years of criticism for not having any female members, the Augusta National Golf Club announced Monday that it was admitting two women into the club.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore are the club's two newest members.
Payne offered the following statement on behalf of the Club:
“These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership," said Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament. "It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their Green Jackets when the Club opens this fall."
Writes the Associated Press:
The move likely ends a debate that intensified in 2002 when Martha Burk of the National Council of Women's Organizations urged the club to include women among its members. Former club chairman Hootie Johnson stood his ground, even at the cost of losing Masters television sponsors for two years, when he famously said Augusta National might one day have a woman in a green jacket, "but not at the point of a bayonet."
The comment took on a life of its own, becoming either a slogan of the club's resolve not to give in to public pressure or a sign of its sexism, depending on which side of the debate was interpreting it.
The club, which is estimated to have about 300 members, admitted its first Black member in 1990.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, Pool File)