The news Monday that Augusta National Golf Club has its first two female members -- former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore of Lake City, S.C. -- was both overdue and inevitable.
Still, it's good to have the issue resolved.
Did it take longer than it should have?
Yes, but Augusta National moves at its own pace. We may never know for sure but my sense is the club might have added female members before now had Martha Burk's public attacks a few years ago not slowed the process. The club wasn't going to be bullied into action.
However, the issue wasn't going to go away until female members were admitted. For all the progressive initiatives pushed by chairman Billy Payne in its stated quest to 'grow the game,' the message was flattened by the reality that Augusta National hadn't fully opened its doors to women.
Hundreds of rounds of golf are reportedly played by women each year at Augusta National but until now, there were no female members.
Payne was pushed in his pre-tournament interview in April on the membership issue and said, as other chairmen have, that club matters would remain private. It became more awkward because Virginia Rometty had become CEO of IBM. Her four male predecessors had been Augusta National members.
Payne is a smart man who no doubt understood the conundrum of pushing global growth at a club with a restricted membership. With Rice and Moore now having their own green jackets, Payne and the club can push forward rather than play defense against the perpetual questions.
It was important enough that the club made a public announcement of the new members, Payne calling it "a joyous occasion."
Augusta National is a unique place. The club reportedly has about 300 members and they are rich and powerful people. The club has positioned itself to be a powerful force in golf and it has the opportunity to be an example.
It became a better one on Monday.