It took 80 years, but the Augusta National Golf Club has finally invited two women to join the formerly all-male home of the Masters golf tournament. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore will be the first women to sport the club's trademark green jackets when the club opens its season in October.
Despite the fact that green can be a particularly unflattering hue on most women, both prominent ladies have graciously accepted their ground-breaking inclusion.
The Washington Post reports that back in 2002, Martha Burk of the National Council of Women's Organizations urged the club to include women. But former club chairman Hootie Johnson stood his ground and his refusal cost Masters television sponsors for two years. His famous quote was that something along the lines of the Augusta National might one day have a woman in a green jacket "but not at the point of a bayonet."
After Johnson retired, Billy Payne took over as chairman in 2006. And he's proud to announce the inclusion of Rice and Moore.
"These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership," Payne said in a statement. "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."
The Augusta National opened in December of 1932 and didn't have a black member until 1990. But although the club had no female members, women were allowed to play as guests of the men. So while the green jacket may not sound like a big deal, it really is. And it was a long time coming. And the first female members certainly set a high bar.
Moore, 58, became the highest paid woman in banking – at Chemical Bank -- in the ‘80s. She's now the vice president of Rainwater, Inc., a private investment company, and was the first woman to grace the cover of Fortune magazine.
Rice, 57, was the national security adviser under former President George W. Bush, and became secretary of state in his second term. The first black woman to be a Stanford provost in 1993, she's now a Political Economics professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Business.
Enjoy those green jackets, ladies.