By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Tonight there is a new Master’s champion.

Patrick Reed, 27, won his first Master’s tournament after sinking a short par putt on the final hole. But there was another big story out of Augusta this week.

Next year, they will host a women’s tournament for the first time.

Fred Ridley, who is the new chairman of the Augusta National Club that hosts the Master’s, said this week, “This championship will become an exciting new part of Master’s week and it furthers our effort to promote the sport and inspire young women to take up the game.”

The amateur tournament finals will be played at the Augusta National, a historic announcement. Only in recent years did the prestigious club, which runs the tournament, allow women to wear green jackets and become members.

Condoleezza Rice and banker Darla Moore were the first.

The inaugural women’s tournament will be played the Sunday before the men’s tournament begins. Dr. Nicole LaVoi is with the University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport.

“The most prestigious men’s golf tournament in the country and perhaps in the world that’s been very exclusionary towards women is now allowing women to be members and hosting a final round of a tournament for women golfers,” LaVoi said.

She praised the club’s current chairman, who is a father to three girls.

“Gaining power and access and particularly women in sport in this case does not happen without male ally-ship,” LaVoi said.

She calls the old club’s new direction the right one.

“We can see female athletes playing at the most prestigious golf club in the country in a space that has been historically reserved for men,” LaVoi said.

And, she says, it’s not just a good thing for girls.

“Little girls will see it but also little boys and men will now see someone playing in their space at the most prestigious club and that matters too,” LaVois said.

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