Augusta, Darla Moore & Hootie Johnson.

Darla Moore/bottomline.nbcnews.com

Hootie Johnson, the  former Augusta National chairman, the same man who famously declared in 2002 that he wouldn’t admit women to the club;

“At the point of a bayonet.”

Hootie Johnson/usatoday.com

In 2003 Hootie followed that statement with another politically incorrect statement, some people actually hoped the drop dead part of the admission would come true quickly;

” I do want to make one point, though. If I drop dead, right now, our position will not change on this issue.”

Bobby Jones & Cliff Roberts

Some pretty strong stuff, and lots of the guys in the locker room admired his unbending attitude, seems though that the old boy himself has softened in old age. I bet Cliff Roberts and Bobby Jones are spinning in their respective graves at the latest goings on at Augusta. Turns out it was Hootie Johnson who was personally responsible for nominating a woman for membership to the club, that woman was none other than Darla Moore. Here is Hootie’s latest  reported comments;

“She has a long connection with me, I’ve had her as a guest at the club a number of times along with her husband. She’s a sweet lady.”

Lets all drink to progress, if you don’t place one foot forward, you will always be standing in the same place. Remember Cliff Roberts statement;

“As long as I’m alive, all the golfers will be white and all the caddies will be black.”

Well, Lee Elder became the first black golfer to play in the Masters Tournament in 1975, Lee said at the time;

“I don’t want anything special. I will make it on my own.”

                           

Lee Elder/legendsrevealed.com       Lee congratulates Tiger on his Masters win/bleacherreport.com

Cliff Roberts died two years later in 1977, no one knows if being alive when a black golfer played in The Masters had hastened him into committing suicide, but he had been ill some months.

You have to wonder what he would have made of  Tiger winning in 1997, with a total of -18 under par, and aided by a white caddie, Fluff Cowan. Tiger said of Fluff, after their Masters win;

” I think Fluff’s the best caddie in the world, he’s a great caddie and a great friend.”

    Michael Thomas Cowan/ caddybytes.com

Seems like even Tiger has some statements he regretted making, Fluff may not  be the best caddie in the world, but you don’t fire a great friend.

The last word goes to someone who is absolutely delighted with the Augusta change of heart, she is Martha Burk, the lady who started the crusade against Augusta, Martha said;

Martha Burk ” We won, absolutely, that’s how I feel.”

” It’s important symbolically. In an absolute sense, two women playing golf is not important, but two women  being allowed into one of the enclaves of power for, basically, Fortune 500 members is a very important symbolic statement about the place of women in society. Had we not started this 10 years ago, and kept at it and kept at it, it wouldn’t have happened now, and it might not have happened ever. We did not give up. There were several confluences that came together: IBM naming a woman as a CEO was one factor. I think we were another one. We succeeded in changing public opinion pretty well.I got a lot of death threats, I had to hire bodyguards, and I did wear a bulletproof vest. It was not fun. I believed in what I was doing. I don’t want to take personal credit. Yes, I was a spokesperson, but there were a lot of women standing behind me as well. That was very important, but I do feel personally vindicated.”

Augusta National Admits Women, The Times They Are A Changing

Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore made History by being accepted by Augusta National, the women to be welcomed as members.

The home of the Masters now has green jackets for women, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore have become the first female members since the Augusta National club was founded in 1932,  and current chairman Billy Payne said on Monday;

“This is a joyous occasion. 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.”

Hootie Johnson, who retired as chairman in 2006, said Monday;

” This is wonderful news for Augusta National Golf Club and I could not be more pleased. Darla Moore is my good friend, and I know she and Condoleezza Rice will enjoy the Club as much as I have.”

Darla Moore said of her acceptance at the club;

” 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. 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. Above all, Augusta National and the Masters Tournaments have always stood for excellence, and that is what is so important to me.”

Condoleezzer Rice is looking forward to playing the course;

” 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. 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.”

Tiger Woods commented;

” I think the decision by the Augusta National membership is important to golf. The Club continues to demonstrate its commitment to impacting the game in positive ways. I would like to congratulate both new members, especially my friend Condi Rice.”

Jack Nicklaus, the six-time Masters champion and an Augusta member, offered his welcome to the two women;

” Everyone at Augusta National shares a similar passion for the game of golf, and I know they will be great additions to the club. “

Well done Augusta National, now that the female member debate has finally ended, lets all go play golf.