In what Augusta National Golf Club is describing as ‘a joyous occasion’, Augusta National and Masters Tournament chairman Billy Payne has announced that Condoleezza Rice, the former U.S. defence secretary, and Darla Moore, the banking executive, have accepted invitations to become the first two female members in the Club’s 80 year history.
“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,” said Mr Payne.
“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.”
Condolezza Rice, 57, the former U.S. Secretary of State under the George W. Bush administration, lives in Stanford, California and in a statement said: “I am delighted and honoured to be a member of Augusta National Golf Club. 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 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.
“Golf is a wonderful source of enjoyment for me, and I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to grow my love for this great game.”
Darla Moore, 58, is a businesswoman from Lake City, South Carolina. She is the vice president of Rainwater Inc. and the University of South Carolina’s business school is named in her honour.
She said in a statement: “I am honoured to have accepted an invitation to join Augusta National Golf Club. 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.
“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 Tournament have always stood for excellence, and that is what is so important to me. I am extremely grateful for this privilege.”
Augusta National and Masters website www.masters.com