It’s been a long time coming, ladies. Months after the Augusta National Golf Club caught loads of flack for sticking to their strict all-boys policy, the exclusive club is finally welcoming a couple women into their ranks, which include the likes of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Billy Payne, Chairman of the Club and the Masters Tournament confirmed that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and pioneering female banker Darla Moore are new members of the institution.
Women everywhere see the admittance as a form of victory, after loudly voicing their disapproval of Augusta’s men-only rules in April. Even President Obama joined in the call for a few good women to hit the lanes at Augusta.
One lady who might not be as thrilled about Rice and Moore’s invitation is the CEO of IBM, Virginia Rometty. The reason so many people focused on Augusta’s long-standing policy in April is because there was speculation as to whether Rometty would be the first female in the club. After all, she is the CEO of IBM, who sponsors the Master’s tournament. Historically, the CEOs of sponsor companies were given memberships. Even better, Rometty is a golfer and would probably love the exclusive networking opportunity.
But apparently these two ladies were able to earn their spots where others couldn’t. Payne made this statement about their acceptance.
“This is a joyous occasion as we enthusiastically welcome Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National Golf Club.
“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.
“These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership. 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.”
To be honest, I’m kind of excited that Augusta wasn’t forced in to welcoming its first female through a technicality. No offense to Rometty, but I’m happy that the decision seemed to be one of accepting successful women, not just succumbing to pressure. Payne sounds genuinely enthusiastic about the club’s acceptance of these deserving ladies, not just resigned to saving face with the public.
One of the last prestigious all-male institutions is getting a little more diverse. Women are accepted in one more high-level arena. I think that’s something we all can celebrate, whether we’re avid golfers or not.