Condoleezza Rice Condoleezza Rice

The Augusta National Golf Club has accepted female members for the first time in its 80-year history.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore will be the first women to sport the club's famous green jackets when it opens for the upcoming season in October.

''This is a joyous occasion,'' Augusta National chairman Billy Payne told The Associated Press. ''These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership...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.''

Augusta National, the home of the PGA Masters tournament, opened in 1932 and did not have a black member until 1990.

''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,'' Moore, 57, said. ''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."

Rice, 57, added, "'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."