Former Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice (who also received membership at Cypress in March) and business executive Darla Moore (the University of South Carolina’s Business School is named after her).
From USA Today:
“This is a joyous occasion as we enthusiastically welcome Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National Golf Club,” Payne said in a statement. “We are fortunate to consider many qualified candidates for membership at Augusta National. Consideration with regard to any candidate is deliberate, held in strict confidence and always takes place over an extended period of time. The process for Condoleezza and Darla was no different. 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.”
But what changed?
Ten years ago Augusta National was in the news when Martha Burk demanded that they allow female members. Then Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson rebuffed her request and lost television sponsors as a result.
Even this year, one of the Masters biggest sponsors, IBM, was caught up in a great controversy because their CEO and President is a woman, a very powerful woman, Ginni Rometty. Augusta National did not offer her membership. Not offering membership to the leader of a company who sponsors your tournament, and has for many years, doesn’t really make much sense, yet she wasn’t offered membership on Monday. Maybe sometime soon?
USA Today quote from Condoleeza Rice:
“I am delighted and honored to be a member of Augusta National Golf Club,” she said. “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. I have long admired the important role Augusta National has played in the traditions and history of golf. I also have 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.
USA Today quote from Darla Moore:
“Augusta National has always captured my imagination, and is one of the most magically beautiful places anywhere in the world, as everyone gets to see during the Masters each April,” Moore said. “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.”
Today’s announcement is a great step toward doing the right thing. The good ol’ boys at Augusta have finally got something right—it just took them far too long to realize it. These women will enhance the game of golf and your club. Your members are better off counting them among the population.