Golfer and former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice is one of two women the Augusta National Golf Club invited to join its membership, marking the first time women will be admitted to the exclusive organization that hosts the Masters Golf Tournament.
Rice and financier Darla Moore accepted the invitation from Augusta.
Both President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney called for Augusta to allow women members earlier this year when scrutiny was directed on the club once again for its policy. At the time, media wondered if Augusta would bestow the traditional courtesy membership on big-time sponsor IBM’s new woman CEO, Virginia Rometty.
“If they’re going to be proper stewards of the game then they understand—Chairman [Billy] Payne fully understands—then that’s a game that needs to be accessible and inclusive for all people…not just men,” said Rich Lerner of the Golf Channel during an appearance on Andrea Mitchell Reports Monday. “This is a monumental day, but one that those of us in sports saw coming.”
NBC News reported that the woman who led a protest on the policy in the parking lot of the 2003 Masters cheered the news. “I knew we could outlast them,” said Dr. Martha Burk, a director with the National Council of Women’s Organizations.
It’s a shame that this victory for women golfers should only just now be arriving in 2012, but it demonstrates just one more area where women are working to make gains in terms of respect and equality.
This turn of events in the world of sports arrives on a day when a Republican congressman is being hammered for his false comments on rape, thus thrusting women’s rights back into the national spotlight.