The club at the US Masters home course scrapped its ban on female membership and invited South Carolina financier Darla Moore and former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

Club chairman Billy Payne said in a statement: “This is a joyous occasion.

“These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership.”

Rice, who also has been the first black female secretary of state, said in the club’s statement that she looked forward to “playing golf, renewing friendships and forming new ones through this very special opportunity.”

The big golf news overshadowed Spaniard Sergio Garcia’s win in the Wyndham Championship on Monday and ESPN’s sport journalist Rick Reilly tweeted: “Only Sergio Garcia could win a tournament and finish third to two women at the same time.

National Council of Women’s Organisations has since 2002 campaigned to make women able to wear the club’s green jackets and in May President Barack Obama joined in. His press secretary told Huffington Post: “We are kind of long past the time when women should be excluded from anything.”

But for Augusta National things are moving a bit slower – the club didn’t accept its first black member until 1990.

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