“These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership,” club President Billy Payne (the former Atlanta Olympics czar) said in a statement.
The Club, to its credit, admitted the women on its own terms and not in response to the badgering and hectoring of various women’s’ rights spokesmen, most notably Martha Burk of the little-known National Council of Women’s Organizations. Burk led a series of protests in the early 2000s in Augusta demanding that women be admitted as members. The protests were given heavy play by the national media, despite the scanty turnout by protesters.
The Club stood its ground, arguing that as a private club it had the right to determine who it allowed to join. The Club is in its 80th year and is thought to have around 300 members. It admitted its first black member back in 1990. Women were only allowed to play its course on Sundays.
Changes finally came at Augusta National — although the pace was glacial.
“It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their green jackets when the club opens this fall,” Payne said. “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.”
Congratulations are in order to Rice and Moore. May they have nothing but good lies and short putts — and may the green jackets look better on them than they do on the men.