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Aug 20, 2012 4:55 PM by Joe Bevans

Golf institution opens itself to women

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Augusta National Golf Club, the home of the Masters, is welcoming two women to its membership. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore will be the first women to wear the fabled green jacket when the new season opens in October. The 80-year old club, which is private, has been under pressure for years to admit a woman as a member. Augusta National chairman Billy Payne calls the admission of Rice and Moore a "joyous occasion." The move likely ends the debate that intensified in 2002 when Martha Burke of the National Council of Women's Organizations urged the club to admit women. Former club chairman Hootie Johnson stood his ground, even at the cost of losing Masters television sponsors for two years.

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