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First Augusta women members are Rice, Moore

Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters, makes Condoleezza Rice, Darla Moore first female members.
Masters allows women membersEnlarge
A detail of a members jacket is seen during the Par 3 Contest prior to the start of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 4, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore are the first two women members of Augusta National Golf Club, the home of The Masters announced today.

The announcement comes more than a decade after Martha Burk and the National Council of Women's Organizations tried to embarrass the Georgia golf club into accepting female members.

“We are fortunate to consider many qualified candidates for membership at Augusta National," Augusta chairman Billy Payne said in a prepared release. "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."

Payne called it a "joyous occasion."

Rice, 57, was secretary of state and national security adviser during George W. Bush's presidency.

An Alabama native, she is now a political science professor at Stanford University, in California.

"I am delighted and honored to be a member of Augusta National Golf Club," Rice said, according to USA Today. "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."

Moore, 58, is vice president of investment company Rainwater, Inc.

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She founded the Palmetto Institute, a South Carolina think tank, and has served on many corporate boards. The University of South Carolina named its business school after Moore.

"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," Moore told USA Today. "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."

Augusta National represents America's emotional heart of golf.

Every April it hosts the PGA's most prestigious tournament, The Masters, and remains both exclusive and elusive. It was only recently that Augusta allowed CBS Sports to broadcast the entire Masters. Playing the course — let alone becoming a member — has often been beyond the grasp of the world's rich and famous.

Augusta admitted its first black member in 1990. In 2002, Martha Burk tried to shame Augusta into accepting women by pressuring sponsors and CBS.

It was then chairman Hootie Johnson who famously declared that Augusta might one day accept women, "but not at the point of a bayonet," The Associated Press reported.

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