AUGUSTA, Ga., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and businesswoman Darla Moore have been selected as the first female members of Augusta National Golf Club.
Augusta National, the site of the Masters golf tournament, has faced calls for years to accept female members. The protests were most apparent in 2003 and 2004 when Martha Burk staged demonstrations near the course during the Masters.
But the private club, which didn't have an African-American member until 1990, kept its male-only policy until Monday.
"This is a joyous occasion as we enthusiastically welcome Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National Golf Club," club President Billy Payne said.
"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."
Both women accepted the invitations to join Augusta.
Rice was national security adviser and secretary of state in the administration of President George W. Bush. Since leaving those posts, she has been provost at Stanford University.
Moore is a partner in the investment firm of Rainwater Inc. Among her philanthropic activities was a gift of $25 million to the business school at the University of South Carolina, which renamed the facility the Moore School of Business.
"These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well-known and respected by our membership," Payne said. "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."