Condoleezza Rice makes it into all men golf club

Last Updated: Aug 21, 2012, 21:36 PM IST

Washington: Breaking the perhaps toughest gender barrier in 80 years, former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice has become one of the first two female members admitted to prestigious Augusta National Golf Club, which has excluded women as members since inception.

A key player in the historic India-US civil nuclear deal, Rice has lived a life of firsts: first black woman to be Secretary of State, first black woman to be national security adviser and the first African-American, first woman and youngest person to be provost of Stanford University.

On Monday, she added another first when she became one of the first two female members admitted to Augusta National Golf Club, the home of the Masters tournament, which has excluded women as members throughout its 80-year history, the New York Times reported.

The other new member is Darla Moore, a South Carolina financier and philanthropist who was on the cover of Fortune in 1997 as "The Toughest Babe in Business".

57-year-old Rice is also a former competitive ice skater and a serious tennis player. Rice began golfing seven years ago.

In a statement released by the club, Rice, who served in George Bush`s administration, said she looked forward to "playing golf, renewing friendships and forming new ones through this very special opportunity".

Moore, the vice-president of private investment firm Rainwater, said being asked to join the Augusta National represented "a very happy and important occasion in my life".

"This is a joyous occasion," club chairman Billy Payne said in a statement. `

It should not be surprising that Augusta National has taken so long to fall in line with the rest of society. The club, which opened in December 1932, only accepted its first black member in 1990.