Augusta National Golf Club was founded in 1932 as a men-only club and has hosted the prestigious US Masters tournament since 1934. Augusta National is considered one of the most elite clubs in the world with only about 300 members. Among them are personalities from the world’s wealthiest and most powerful businessmen. Women have only been admitted as members since 2012.
Annika Sorenstam becomes first female professional player to join US Masters venue
Multiple sources reported this week that Annika Sorenstam, a 72-time winner on the LPGA Tour, has been accepted as a member at Augusta National Golf Club. However, a spokesman for Augusta National Golf Club declined to comment, and Mike McGee, Sorenstam’s husband and manager, also declined to comment. Membership in Augusta National Golf Club has traditionally been considered a private matter, and the club has always sought to keep its membership list private.
Twenty years ago, women’s activist Martha Burk of the National Council of Women’s Organizations protested the lack of women members at Augusta National. Nearly a decade passed before Augusta National’s then-chairman Billy Payne added former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to the club in 2012. Other confirmed female members at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia include Heidi Ueberroth, co-chairwoman of Pebble Beach Co; former USGA President Diana Murphy; former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty; and Ana Botin, executive chairwoman of Santander Group. Golf legend Annika Sorenstam is now the first professional player to be inducted as a member of the country’s most prestigious golf club. Sorenstam has been a trailblazer for women’s golf. She has collected a total of 10 Major titles during her unique career. In 2008, she became the first woman to compete in a PGA Tour event since 1945 when she competed in the tournament then known as the Bank of America Colonial. When Augusta National Golf Club introduced the Augusta Women’s National Amateur in 2019, Sorenstam was one of the first starters.
“I wish we had done it sooner”
A decade after the first female members were admitted, Fred Ridley, the current club chairman, reflected on that decision during his pre-tournament press conference at the Masters. “I don’t know about you, but when anything happens or any idea that you had turns out well and you’re pleased about it, initiative, whatever, you might always say, well, why didn’t we do that sooner? And that’s a fair, that’s a fair thought. And so I wish – I wish we had have,” he said.
He added: “Women members are a very important part of our membership, and you will continue to see over the years, if you look, more green jackets that are women. I’m going to make sure of that.
“We have a number of women members who we are delighted are part of our organization. I think you know, certainly, who some of them are. They have been great contributors to our organization, both I would say substantively and things they are doing to help us, both with the Masters and otherwise.”