Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice attends the closing ceremonies of the Presidents Cup golf tournament in San Francisco, California in this file photo taken October 11, 2009. The Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters golf tournament, on Monday said it has admitted two women as members for the first time: former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and financier Darla Moore. (Photo : Reuters)
The male-only Augusta National Golf Club admitted two women to its club in a historic decision, the organization announced on Monday. Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and financier Darla Moore will be the first women to join the exclusive Augusta, Ga. Golf club.
The announcement to include women was given by Augusta National President and Masters Chairman Billy Payne. "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.
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Augusta National Golf Club is home to the Masters tournament held each year in April. It was founded by amateur golfer Bobby Jones and investment banker Clifford Roberts as a men-only golf club in 1932. It maintained its exclusive membership policy for eight decades despite increasing backlash.
According to Reuters, the golf organization's male-only membership policy has drawn criticism for years, including from President Obama. In a statement from the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said the President "welcomes this development, thinks it was too long in coming but obviously believes it's the right thing to do."
Rice, 57, was the first black woman to become Secretary of State under President George Bush's second term in office. Her fellow female Augusta National member, Moore, 58, became the richest female banker in the 1990s and was the first woman profiled on Forbes Magazine reports Reuters.
Names of club members are normally not revealed, although it is believed to boast 300 of the most powerful men in industry and finance, states Reuters.