Annika Sorenstam, winner of 10 women’s majors and 72 LPGA Tour titles, was recently fitted for a green jacket.
According to multiple sources who spoke to Golfweek on the condition of anonymity, Sorenstam, 53, officially became a member at Augusta National Golf Club earlier this month when the club opened for the current season. A spokesperson for Augusta National Golf Club declined to comment. Mike McGee, Sorenstam’s husband and manager, also declined to comment.
Augusta National has traditionally cited membership as a private matter and gone to great lengths to keep its membership list, which is believed to be in the neighborhood of 300 and includes a group of some of the wealthiest and most powerful businessmen — and since 2012 women — private.
Augusta National was founded as a men’s-only club in 1932. It began hosting the Masters in 1934. Twenty years ago, women’s activist Martha Burk, from the National Council of Women’s Organizations, demonstrated and campaigned about the lack of women members in Augusta National.
Nearly a decade passed until then-Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne welcomed former U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and South Carolina financier, Darla Moore, to join the club in 2012.
Other confirmed female members at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia include Heidi Ueberroth, co-chairman of Pebble Beach Co., former USGA president Diana Murphy, former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Ana Botin, executive chairman of the Santander Group. Sorenstam is the first LPGA pro to become a member at one of golf’s most prestigious clubs in the country, where membership remains one of the most sought after affirmations of success.
A decade after the first female members were admitted, Fred Ridley, the current club chairman, reflected on that decision during his pre-tournament press conference at the Masters. “I don’t know about you, but when anything happens or any idea that you had turns out well and you’re pleased about it, initiative, whatever, you might always say, well, why didn’t we do that sooner? And that’s a fair, that’s a fair thought. And so I wish – I wish we had have,” he said.
He added: “Women members are a very important part of our membership, and you will continue to see…