Augusta National golf club, host of the US Masters, accepts first female members

Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore are the first two women accepted.

Tiger Woods tees off at the Augusta National's 18th hole. Photograph: Getty Images

The Augusta National golf club, in Georgia, US, has just admitted its first two female members, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore, a prominent banker. The club is the host venue of the US masters tournament, and the move paves the way to women being allowed to compete there.

The club is no stranger to being astonishingly behind the times. Until 1990, it did not allow black members, and "by tradition", all caddies at the club were black; the club's founder, Clifford Roberts, once said:

As long as I'm alive, golfers will be white, and caddies will be black.

He didn't need to add that he would prefer if both groups would all be men.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

The home of the Masters, under increasing criticism the last decade because of its all-male membership, invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to become the first women in green jackets when the club opens for a new season in October.

Both women accepted.

"This is a joyous occasion," Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said Monday.