Women now on par in 'gentleman's game'

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by CHRISTIE JOHNSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 20, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 29 at 12:09 PM

Golf has been called the gentlemen's game.

"Somebody told me the other day what golf stood for originally when it was first invented and it was for 'Gentlemen's only, ladies forbidden,'" said Mack Strong, former Seattle Seahawk.

Former professional athletes playing in Monday's celebrity/amateur tournament at the Boeing Classic have heard it all before.

"I head a rumor one time that one of the royals, I think it was Queen Anne or Princess Anne, had to actually hand a trophy through a window because they wouldn't let her into the golf course" said Kasey Keller, for Seattle Sounders player.
 
And the sport has been viewed that way by many since its creation in the 15th century. Seventy-eight men have won the coveted green jacket at the Masters, but no woman has ever been allowed to wear one of golf's most recognizable symbols.
 
"There was a course in England that had a sign above it that said 'no dogs or women allowed,'" said Keller.

And it has been that way for almost a century at America's most famous course, but that all changed on Monday. For the first time in 80 years women are allowed to wear the green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club, the site of the Masters Tournament.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina business woman Darla Moore got an invitation to join the exclusive club and they accepted.

"No way!! You're kidding me, that's awesome!" said Judy Anderson, a local golfer.

In a statement Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne said "This is a joyous occasion, these accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and are both well known and respected by our membership."

And it is welcome news to many hitting the links at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge Golf Club.

"There's some phenomenal women players out there and they deserve to get all the respect and accolades and admission into all the clubs that the men do," said Mack Strong.

"Nice! We're making progress, it only took what 100 years?" said Brad Evans, Seattle Sounders player.

And this monumental day is not lost on 10-year-old Isabella Mariani, who has big dreams to one day play on the LPGA.

"Even though men can hit stronger hits and stuff or hit it farther, still women can do that, we're both equal," she said.

For many it's been a long time coming, and now, in this gentlemen's game, women are now on par.

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