The home of the Masters now has green jackets for women.
In a historic change at one of the world's most exclusive golf clubs, Augusta National invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to become the first female members since the club was founded in 1932.
''This is a joyous occasion,'' chairman Billy Payne said Monday.
For some, it was a long time coming.
Martha Burk and her women's advocacy group first challenged the club 10 years ago over its all-male membership. The debate returned this year when IBM, one of the top corporate sponsors of the Masters, appointed Virginia Rometty as its chief executive. The previous four CEOs of Big Blue had all been Augusta National members.
The battle ended in typical style for Augusta National, with an understated announcement that left even Burk stunned.
''Oh my God. We won,'' she blurted out when contacted by The Associated Press.
Burk was not the first advocate to draw attention to women being left out, but it was an exchange with former chairman Hootie Johnson in 2002 that ignited the issue. Feeling as though the Augusta National was being bullied, Johnson stood his ground, even at the cost of cutting loose television sponsors for two years, when he famously said the club might one day ask a woman to join, ''but that timetable will be ours and not at the point of a bayonet.''
The comment became either a slogan of the club's resolve not to yield to public pressure or a sign of sexism, depending on which side of the debate was interpreting it.
Johnson, who retired as chairman in 2006, said Monday in a statement to The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., ''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.''