Tiger Woods made history by becoming the first African-American golfer to win the PGA Masters Tournament championship at Augusta National Golf Club in 1997, and was also the youngest to do so.
But if Woods were playing in the PGA just seven years prior to his barrier-smashing achievement, he wouldn’t have been able to join the prestigious Augusta National Golf Club.
The club, which has previously highlighted its growing membership and diversity, has an ugly history of racism and sexism hanging over it.
Black golfers weren’t allowed on the grounds of the club to play, despite rules the club established to allow top-20 golfers in the earnings category to be invited to play in the Masters.
Black golfing pioneer Charlie Sifford was famously snubbed from playing at Augusta, which was quite the omission as he was the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour.
The ban on African-Americans joining the club was finally lifted in 1991, well after Lee Elder broke Augusta’s race barrier by playing in the Masters in 1975. In 1983, the club finally permitted members to hire caddies who weren’t Black. Beforehand, most golfers hired nothing but Black caddies, which some allege was part of the members’ retaining a sense of control and power.
In 2012, the club admitted its first two female members, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and South Carolina businesswoman Darla Moore. The current members are also joined by Virginia Rometty, the only female members at Augusta to date.