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(NEW YORK) — After decades of controversy, the all-male Augusta National Golf Club has admitted its first female members, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and business executive Darla Moore.

The prestigious Augusta National Golf Club is best known for hosting the Masters Tournament and the exclusivity surrounding the green jacket club.

Since its inception in 1933, Augusta National has been embroiled in several heated debates for not allowing female club members.

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

“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,” Rice said on Monday of the honor. “I have long admired the important role Augusta National has played in the traditions and history of golf. I also have an immense respect for the Masters Tournament and its commitment to grow the game of golf, particularly with youth, here in the United States and throughout the world.”

Moore is also very happy about the news.

“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 said. “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.”

Martha Burk of the National Council of Women’s Organizations had been pushing for the club to allow women since 2002.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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