Augusta National Adds First Two Female Members
Dropping its image as an all-male membership club, the Augusta National Golf Club has added its first two female members - former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina businesswoman Darla Moore.
"This is a joyous occasion," Billy Payne, the Augusta National chairman, said in a statement by the club. "These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership."
Opened in 1932, Augusta National added its first black member in 1990 while women had been allowed to play at the club as guests of members. In 2002, Martha Burk of the National Council of Women's Organizations started a campaign, urging the club to include women before the 2003 Masters.
The club's all-male policy came under fire anew after IBM chief executive Virginia Rometty did not receive an invitation for club membership while the computer firm's previous four executives had been given club membership.
The policy was also used as talking points by President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who both said the club should open its doors to women.
"This is a significant and positive time in our club's history," Payne said. "And on behalf of our membership, I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome them and all of our new members into the Augusta family."
The 57-year-old Rice served as national security adviser and secretary of state under President George W. Bush. She is a professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, where she has also been provost. Rice was considered a likely candidate for Augusta National membership if it became open to women.
"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," Rice said in a statement released by the club. "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."
Moore, 58, is vice president of Rainwater, a private investment company founded by her husband, Richard Rainwater. She rose to success in banking, becoming the highest paid woman in the industry and the first woman to be profiled on the cover of Fortune magazine. The University of South Carolina business school is named after her.
"It is a great thing that it has happened," said Amy Alcott, a Hall of Fame golfer who has played Augusta National as a guest. She was in the middle of a charity tournament at Deepdale Golf Club in New York when she found out that women had been admitted to Augusta National as members.
"At a time when women represent one of the fastest growing segments in both playing and following the game of golf, this sends a positive and inclusive message for our sport," said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.
For the first time ever, the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia invited two women to join as members. CBS News' Armen Keteyian reports
Augusta National invites first female members
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