Augusta National admits its first two women

Augusta National admits its first two women

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- 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." Johnson and Moore have roots in South Carolina and banking, and they worked together on a 300 million capital campaign for the University of South Carolina. Rice recently was appointed to an influential U.S. Golf Association committee that nominates members to the executive board. Payne, who took over as chairman in 2006 when Johnson retired, said consideration for new members is deliberate and private, and that Rice and Moore were not treated differently from other new members. Even so, he took the rare step of announcing two of the latest members to join because of the historical significance. "These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership," Payne said in a statement. "It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their green jackets when the club opens this fall. 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." Tiger Woods, who knows Rice through a mutual connection to Stanford, applauded the move. "I think the decision by the Augusta National membership is important to golf," Woods said. "The Club 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." Jack Nicklaus, a six-time Masters champion and Augusta member, extended his welcome to the two women. "Everyone at Augusta National shares a similar passion for the game of golf, and I know they will be great additions to the club," Nicklaus said. A person with knowledge of club operations said Rice and Moore first were considered as members five years ago. That would be four years after the 2003 Masters, when Burk's protest in a grass lot down the street from the club attracted only about 30 supporters, and one year after Payne became chairman. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the club keeps membership issues private, said Payne and Johnson agreed on the timing of a female member. The person said prospective members often are not aware they are being considered. The club does not say how much it costs to join or provide figures on annual dues. Augusta National is closed from the middle of May until the middle of October. "It's very exciting news, obviously," said Allison Greene, who formed a group in 2003 called Women Against Martha Burk. "Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore are outstanding and incredible role models for the community, and anything that puts women like that out there is always a good thing. Second of all, the fact that their membership came by the hand of Augusta National because they wanted to do it, not because they were forced to do it, is a good thing. I don't know any woman who would want to be a member of any kind of club because they were forced into membership." Burk maintains her initial letter to Johnson on June 12, 2002 -- and his defiant reply -- paved the way for Rice and Moore to become members a decade later. "It came sooner than I expected. I thought they were going to try to outlast me," Burk said. "And I really thought they would wait until the women's movement would get no credit. But if we had not done what we did, this would not have happened now." Augusta National, which opened in December 1932 and did not have a black member until 1990, is believed to have about 300 members. Before now, women were allowed to play the golf course as guests, including on the Sunday before the Masters week begins. The issue of female membership never entirely went away after Burk's campaign, and it resurfaced again this year with Rometty as IBM's new chief executive. Rometty was seen at the Masters on the final day wearing a pink jacket, not a green one. She was not announced as one of the newest members. Most players at the Masters steered clear of the issue when it was raised, citing the private nature of the club. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem also tried to stay out of it. In some of his strongest comments, he said last May the Masters was "too important" for the tour not to recognize the tournament as an official part of the schedule. Finchem commended the club on Monday. "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," Finchem said. Three-time Masters champion Gary Player tweeted, "Great news. Augusta National admits its first female members in 80 years: Condoleezza Rice & Darla Moore." "I think it's great," Tim Clark of South Africa said Monday after his runner-up finish in the Wyndham Championship. "Obviously it shows a sign of the times and like I say, Augusta's a place I love, love going there to play and love the tournament. So it's nice to see them do this now and kind of get everyone off their backs." Moore, 58, first rose to prominence in the 1980s with Chemical Bank, where she became the highest-paid woman in the banking industry. She is vice president of Rainwater, Inc., a private investment company founded by her husband, Richard Rainwater, and she was the first woman to be profiled on the cover of Fortune Magazine, In 1998, Moore made an initial 25 million contribution to her alma mater, the University of South Carolina, which renamed its business school after her. She pledged an additional 45 million to the school in 2004. And last year, she pledged 5 million to the college for a new aerospace center. She also pledged 10 million to Clemson University in her father's name. "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 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. "Above all, Augusta National and the Masters Tournaments have always stood for excellence, and that is what is so important to me." Rice, 57, was the national security adviser under former President George W. Bush and became secretary of state in his second term. The first black woman to be a Stanford provost in 1993, she now is a professor of political economy at Stanford's Graduate School of Business. "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," Rice said in a statement released by the club. "I have long admired the important role Augusta National has played in the traditions and history of golf. I also have an immense respect for the Masters Tournament and its commitment to grow the game of golf, particularly with youth, here in the United States and throughout the world." Johnson regarded the membership debate as infringing on the rights of a private club, even though every April it hosts the Masters, the most popular of the four major championships, which brings in millions of dollars through television rights for the highest-rated telecast in golf. In a 2002 interview with the AP, Johnson said the all-male nature of the club was important because of four annual parties for members only, instead of who gets to enjoy one of the most famous golf courses in the world. "Our club has enjoyed a camaraderie and a closeness that's served us well for so long, that it makes it difficult for us to consider change," he said. "A woman may be a member of this club one day, but that is out in the future." The membership issue might now shift across the Atlantic to the British Open, which returns in 2013 to all-male Muirfield Golf Club.

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Near trade deadline, former National Drew Storen again on the move

Near trade deadline, former National Drew Storen again on the move

It was back in January that the Nationals acquired Ben Revere from Toronto in exchange for reliever Drew Storen. The former National won't even spend a year north of the border. 

With the trade deadline approaching, Toronto made a move on Tuesday to send Storen and cash considerations to Seattle in exchange for pitcher Joaquin Benoit. 

Storen posted a 6.21 ERA for Toronto in 33.1 innings this season. Benoit has a 5.18 ERA in 24.1 innings. 

MORE NATIONALS: PAPELBON IMPLODES AGAIN IN LOSS

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Tillman's rough start leads to the end of Orioles' five-game win streak

Tillman's rough start leads to the end of Orioles' five-game win streak

BALTIMORE—Chris Tillman had been magnificent. In his previous four starts, Tillman allowed four runs in 28 innings and won all four. 

On Tuesday night, Tillman gave up four runs in the third inning alone. 

Tillman’s search for his 15th win will have to wait at least another five days as the Orioles’ five-game winning streak came to an end in the Colorado Rockies’ 6-3 win before 23,677 at Oriole Park. 

After learning he hadn’t been selected to the All-Star Game, Tillman reeled off four straight wins. Those wins came just after three of his poorest starts of the season. 

Now, he can start on a new streak. 

The Rockies (48-52) scored four runs on five hits in the third, all on two-strike hits. 

Carlos Gonzalez had a two-run double and Trevor Story a two-run single. 

“Any situation you get in like that, long innings, you always feel like you’re one or two pitches away. I felt like we made a lot of good pitches that inning, made some pitches to get some outs, but you’ve got to give credit to them. They put some huge at-bats together, made some really good swings and I wouldn’t change a thing that inning. I missed with a couple but also made some really good pitches at the same time,” Tillman said. 

“We’ve talked about this before. When you’re getting in pitchers counts and not putting guys away, it’s frustrating, but you’ve got to go back and look at the positives. You got to two strikes and you’ve just got to find a way to put them away.”

Two more runs scored against Tillman (14-3) in the fifth on an RBI double by Nolan Arenado and a wild pitch by Tillman. 

“Chris, the pitches he elevated they didn’t miss. Very close to a better outing, he got through five. We just didn’t do much offensively,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

Tillman was lifted after five and replaced by Tyler Wilson, who was given a reprieve before game time. Wilson, who was summoned when Ubaldo Jimenez went on the paternity list, was kept on when he returned. He threw four perfect innings. 

The Orioles (58-41), who suffered a rare home loss, decided to keep 13 pitchers for now and jettisoned outfielder Julio Borbon instead. 

With the loss, the Orioles are still a gaudy 37-15. They had won a season-high six straight at home. Their fifth winning streak of five or more games overall came to an end. 

Colorado started Chad Bettis (9-6). On Aug. 17, 2013, Bettis allowed eight runs—six of them unearned—in 2 2/3 innings in Baltimore. 

Bettis was much sharper in his second outing against the Orioles. He allowed two runs, on an Adam Jones’ two-run home run in the fifth inning, and just four hits in six innings. 

The Orioles trimmed the lead to 6-3 in the eighth. Scott Oberg walked Jones, who took second on Hyun Soo Kim’s infield out and third on Manny Machado’s single. 

Boone Logan struck out Chris Davis, who is now 0-for-23, and threw a wild pitch to score Jones. Mark Trumbo popped out to end the eighth. 

There have been a number of similar streaks for Davis in his Orioles career, and it always seems as if they end with a barrage of home runs.

“He’s going through a period where he’s not stating the obvious- doing what he’s capable of,” Showalter said. “You got to stick with him and trust the track record. He’s frustrated with it, believe me. He’s here early. Sometimes you can try too hard. I know how bad he wants to be the contributor he’s capable of being.”

Carlos Estevez pitched the ninth for his ninth save.

While Davis isn’t swinging well, Adam Jones is playing well. He’s either scored or driven in all six Orioles runs this series. 

He walked twice and now has 27 bases on balls this season, nine away from his career high. 

“No, I have not changed as a hitter. I just, I don’t know, man. I still think I swing a lot, and I still think I swing out of the zone a lot. I’ll take the walks if 3-2 is really outside or in or up or down. It just has to be something I really can’t reach for me to take it,” Jones said. 

NOTES: Kim was 1-for-3 in his first game since July 10. He was on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring. “I felt good that I’m heading in the right direction. I’m trying to find the right mechanics to be in the ballgame again,” Kim said through his translator. …The Orioles end their homestand on Wednesday night. Jon Gray (6-4, 4.12) faces Dylan Bundy (3-2, 3.30). … Jimenez will start at Minnesota on Thursday night. 

RELATED: BACK FROM PATERNITY LEAVE, JIMENEZ EAGER TO GET BACK ON MOUND

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Papelbon again implodes in ninth as Nats fall to Indians in walk-off loss

Papelbon again implodes in ninth as Nats fall to Indians in walk-off loss

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 7-6 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

How it happened: After Jonathan Papelbon imploded in the ninth inning on Sunday, manager Dusty Baker took some of the blame, saying he should not have pitched his closer for the third straight day. Papelbon denied he was tired, but Baker felt it was worth mentioning.

Despite that, Baker went back to Papelbon on Tuesday night in a key spot. It came after an off-day, but Papelbon did not look himself against the Indians. His fastball was regularly topping out at 89 miles per hour and Cleveland jumped all over it.

Papelbon allowed a leadoff walk then an RBI double to Tyler Naquin. Ryan Zimmerman then committed a costly throwing error to first on a Chris Gimenez sacrifice bunt to score Naquin. And then, with Oliver Perez on the mound and the bases loaded, young superstar Francisco Lindor singled in the winning run for an Indians walk-off victory.

Papelbon has now failed the Nats in the ninth inning of two consecutive games. The one positive may be that he's done this before the Aug. 1 trade deadline and not after it, as the Nats' need for bullpen help is becoming more and more obvious.

The Nats had a solid day on offense, led by Trea Turner in the leadoff spot. He singled, walked, stole a base, reached on an error and scored a run in another all-around effort. The rest of the Nats' lineup followed suit, as Wilson Ramos hit his 15th homer of the season, Anthony Rendon clubbed his 12th and Jayson Werth added two doubles to extend his streak of reaching base to 29 games, matching a career-high. 

The Nats knocked Danny Salazar - one of the AL's best pitchers - out after just four innings of work. He gave up four runs (3 ER) on four hits and two walks. Nats starter Gio Gonzalez overcame a rocky first inning to go 6 1/3 frames with three runs (2 ER) allowed.

The Nationals began their long road trip with a tough, 7-6 loss and have now lost six of their last eight games. 

What it means: The Nats fell to 58-42 on the season. With the Marlins' win on Tuesday, the Nats are now just four games up in the NL East.

Turner mostly good in CF, great at plate: Known for his prodigious speed on the base paths, apparently Trea Turner is also a fast learner.

With Zimmerman back from the disabled list, the Nationals rookie played center field for the first time in a big league game on Tuesday night and the early returns were overall quite good. Turner for the most part looked competent at his new position, despite having one key moment where he showed his inexperience. Perhaps more important, the Nats kept his bat and his legs in their lineup and again saw the impact he can provide at the top of their order.

Turner wasn't tested much in center field on Tuesday night, but he did make one very impressive play in the first inning on a long flyout by Jose Ramirez. Turner covered over 112 feet according to StatCast and caught the ball on a full sprint just a step away from the right-center field wall. It was a difficult play and he made it look easy, registering a 97.8% efficiency score. Turner also made another catch at the warning track in the seventh inning. He displayed good instincts around the wall at a park he's never played before. 

That was the good. There was also some bad, including a mistimed dive attempt in the bottom of the eighth that resulted in a Jason Kipnis double. Turner dove while running in towards the infield, only to have the ball bounce in front of him and then over his head. Kipnis later scored on a double play ball hit by Mike Napoli.

Gio starts slow, rebounds: Tuesday will go down as another step in the right direction for Gonzalez, but it didn't start that way. He ran into major trouble in the first inning by throwing 13 balls in his first 17 pitches. That stretch included a leadoff walk to Rajai Davis and then a ground-rule double by Kipnis. Davis scored after that on a passed ball and Kipnis came home on a Carlos Santana sacrifice fly. Gonzalez barely got out of the first inning and was lucky only two runs came across.

After that, though, he was better. Gonzalez held the Indians scoreless for the next five innings before leaving in the seventh. He finished with three runs allowed (2 ER) on five hits, two walks and four strikeouts. The second earned run charged to Gonzalez came on a tough-luck play. Gonzalez exited after giving up a one-out double to Abraham Almonte. Almonte then scored on a Lonnie Chisenhall groundball hit against Blake Treinen that bounced off Rendon's glove and into center field.

Gonzalez has now allowed eight earned runs in his last four games across 24 innings since July began. That equals an even 3.00 ERA, which is solid considering his struggles through May and June.

Zimmerman returns: Zimmerman came back, but didn't carry over the momentum from his hot-hitting minor league rehab games. Zimmerman went 0-for-4 and left three men on base. That was in addition to his mistake in the field.

Scary moment: There was an unfortunate sequence in the first inning on Tuesday night, as a fan in the crowd at Progressive Field was hit in the face by a Daniel Murphy line drive. The 75-year-old woman was quickly rushed to the hospital, but it sounds like she suffered some serious facial injuries at the very least.

Up next: The Nats and Indians play the finale of their two-game interleague series with a 12:10 p.m. start on Wednesday afternoon. Stephen Strasburg (13-1, 2.83) will square off with right-hander Carlos Carrasco (7-3, 2.31).

[RELATED: Former Nats 1st rd. pick set to make MLB debut with Mets]

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