Two women deemed worthy of Augusta

By Laurie Bennett

August 20, 2012 at 11:33am

It hasn’t been a good 48 hours for chauvinists.

First Todd Akin, Missouri congressman and until yesterday a likely shoo-in for the Senate, made the mistake of publicly revealing his belief in women’s biological ability to fend off pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”

Now, almost as shocking, the Augusta National Golf Club has admitted women.

After 79 years of operating as a male-only bastion for the connected and powerful, the club has decided that at least two females belong in its ranks.

Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice

Club Chairman Billy Payne announced Monday that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and business executive Darla Moore will be the first female members.

Payne released a statement saying: “This is a joyous occasion as we enthusiastically welcome Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National Golf Club. 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.”

Darla D. Moore
Darla D. Moore

Rice said she was “delighted and honored” to join the club.

Moore, a partner of the private investment firm Rainwater, Inc., described joining Augusta as “a very happy and important occasion in my life.”

The club has a long tradition of not revealing its members. It also traditionally offered memberships to the chief executive of IBM, a sponsor of the Masters.

After Virginia Rometty became IBM’s CEO in January, Augusta leaders found themselves in an awkward spot.

In April, when Payne was peppered with media questions about the issue, he refused to answer, saying he would not publicly discuss membership issues.

The club is believed to have a membership of about 300. So women now make up .6 percent of the total.

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