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What they're saying: Augusta's female members

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Augusta National Golf Club announced Monday the landmark decision to admit two female members, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore.

Not surprisingly, the news elicited plenty of reaction in the golf world.

Here are some of the best quotes:

• Billy Payne (Augusta National chairman), 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.”

• Tiger Woods, via the AP: “I think the decision by the Augusta National membership is important to golf. The (c)lub continues to demonstrate its commitment to impacting the game in positive ways. I would like to congratulate both new members, especially my friend Condi Rice.”

• Condoleezza Rice, in a statement: “I am delighted and honored to be a member of Augusta National Golf Club. 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.”

• Arnold Palmer on Facebook: 'I've had the pleasure of meeting Condoleezza Rice. I am happy to welcome her as a member of Augusta National and look forward to meeting Darla Moore and welcoming her as well. I congratulate Billy Payne and the club for taking this significant step in the wonderful history of Augusta National.'

• Tim Clark, at the Wyndham Championship: “I think it’s great. It’s a sign of the times, and Augusta is a top-notch club. Obviously it’s about time, and it’s a place I love and love going to. It’s nice to see them make that move.”

Darla Moore, in a statement: “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. 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.”

• Nancy Lopez, to the GC: “There has been so much talk over the years about this, and I was hoping it would happen one day. It’s just awesome that it has today.”

• Tim Finchem, in a statement: “The PGA Tour commends Augusta National Golf Club on the news that it has invited Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore to become its first women members. At a time when women represent one of the fastest growing segments in both playing and following the game of golf, this sends a positive and inclusive message for our sport.”

• Annika Sorenstam, in a statement: “I am delighted that Augusta National has allowed two female members into their club. Condoleezza and Darla are highly respected women and business leaders.”

• Fuzzy Zoeller, via the Chicago Tribune: “It’s a tremendous move for all parties. It’s 2012. Let’s get on with the real world here.”

• Amy Alcott, to the GC: “It’s great news. It’s a wonderful step forward. I couldn’t be more pleased as a woman who has played the course and who thinks so much of the place. I feel like it’s the right thing to do.”

Mitt Romney, on Twitter: “Congrats to my friend @CondoleezzaRice for joining Augusta National & congrats to Augusta National for admitting its first female members.”

• Martha Burk (former chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations): “Oh my God. We won. It’s about 10 years too late for the boys to come into the 20thcentury, never mind the 21st century. But it’s a milestone for women in business.”

Randall Stephenson (AT&T chairman and CEO), in a statement: “As a sponsor of (t)he Masters, we applaud today’s historic announcement by Augusta National and warmly welcome Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National.”

• Gary Player, on Twitter: “Great news. Augusta National admits its first female members in 80 years: Condoleezza Rice & Darla Moore.”

Cristie Kerr, to the GC: “I am thrilled that Augusta National has added two female members to the club. It’s the right time for this to happen, and this can only add to the esteemed history that Augusta National has.”

Mike Whan, in a statement: “Congratulations to Condoleezza and Darla. … We hope this step forward leads to many more for women within the game.”