Published: Sat, April 07, 2018
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Augusta National Takes an Unexpected Turn Toward Women's Golf

Augusta National Takes an Unexpected Turn Toward Women's Golf

The man who succeeded Johnson as chairman, Billy Payne, was the first to invite women to become members, welcoming Rice and banker Darla Moore, who herself was friends with Johnson.

The Augusta National Womens Amateur Championship is now the latest effort announced by the Masters to inspire interest and participation in the game of golf, joining the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, the Latin America Amateur Championship and Drive, Chip and Putt, all of which are actively supported by the Tournament.

The omens could hardly have been better for McIlroy as he looked to strengthen his bid for the career grand slam, the 28-year-old breaking 70 in the first round at Augusta National for just the second time.

"Augusta National has taken the lead as real stewards of the game", Wiebe says. While the news is both rich in irony and ripe for skepticism, standing as it does in such contrast to the decades of sexist entrenchment that used to turn these Wednesday chairman's updates into verbal warfare over Augusta's ban on female members, it is richly significant too, as meaningful a step forward for women's golf and sporting equality as anything in recent memory.

The Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship will take place the week before next year's U.S. Masters.

The club's angle of attack was to stand firm until, by its own timeline, invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and SC financier Darla Moore to join. It's smart because they need women to play the game of golf to showcase women, to get them involved in the sport.

"As a group we were slow but I'm not going to say the reasons why we were slow".

"We raised our family here, and we can go out and buy a new house but we can't buy a home. It's fabulous. I can't wait to see how the women handle one of the greatest golf courses in the world".

A few years ago the Thackers sold their other property in the area to Augusta National for an undisclosed sum but only after the club improved an original offer that the octogenarian couple would only describe as "ridiculously low". "To add women amateurs to that tradition is a great idea". It was the right time for the women's game.

The first Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship will be held next year, a 54-hole event involving 72 of the best amateur players in the world.

"There's a great quote form Bobby Jones dealing specifically with the 13th hole, which has been lengthened over time; he said that the decision to go for the green in two should be a momentous one, " Ridley said.

Masters chairman Fred Ridley announced the tournament Wednesday, calling it a move to help grow the game of golf.

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