For the first time in 80 years of history, the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, the Masters stage, opened its doors to female golfers. When the club inaugurates the new season in October, the former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and financial Darla Moore will be the first to wear green coats, clothing that distinguishes its members and the winners of the second Grand Slam of Golf.
At the beginning of the century, Martha Burke, National Council of Women’s Organizations, lost a fierce media war against alleged sex discrimination evidenced by the club. “You can see the day when the ladies are invited to join our membership list, but in our time and not by the tip of a bayonet”, said, in 2003, the former president of Augusta, Hootie Johnson. And so it was.
Nine years later, Johnson’s successor, Bill Payne, issued a statement reminding that that the evaluation for new members is private, and that Rice and Moore were not treated differently. If announced, was the “historical significance” of the occasion. “These successful women share our passion for golf and are both well known and respected by us. It will be for us a proud moment. “
Augusta National opened in 1932 and, until 1990, had no black member. According to the secret list of members that the newspaper USA Today had , the club has about 300 members, all men so far, with an average age of 70 years many of them pensioners. They are mainly figures of high society of the southern U.S.A. and titans of the national business scene.
Warren Buffet was there (owner of one of the largest fortunes in the world), while Bill Clinton, Donald Trump or Barack Obama are not. “It is not enough to be rich and famous, it is better to be rich and discreet,” wrote the journalists Michael McCarthy and Erik Brady. Even Bill Gates only entered the gallery of members years after it became public that he would like to be honoured with that privilege.
Condoleezza Rice, 57, was the security adviser to former U.S. President George W. Bush on the first term while on the second she became secretary of state. “I always admired the role that Augusta National has had in the traditions and history of golf,” Rice said in a statement. “I have immense respect for the Masters and its contribution to the development of golf.”
Darla Moore, 58, stood out in 1980 at Chemical Bank, when she became the highest-paid woman in the bank industry. She is currently vice-president of Rainwater, a private investment company founded by her husband, Richard Rainwater. “Augusta National has always captivated my imagination, and is one of the most magic and beautiful places around the world, as one can see on the Masters every year,” she said. “Being invited is a very joyous and special occasion in my life.”
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