Johnson and Moore have roots in South Carolina and banking, and they worked together on a $300 million capital campaign for the University of South Carolina. Rice recently was appointed to an influential U.S. Golf Association committee that nominates members to the executive board.
Payne, who took over as chairman in 2006 when Johnson retired, said consideration for new members is deliberate and private, and that Rice and Moore were not treated differently from other new members. Even so, he took the rare step of announcing two of the latest members to join because of the historical significance.
''These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership,'' Payne said in a statement. ''It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their green jackets when the club opens this fall. This is a significant and positive time in our club's history and, on behalf of our membership, I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome them and all of our new members into the Augusta National family.''
Tiger Woods, who knows Rice through a mutual connection to Stanford, applauded the move.
''I think the decision by the Augusta National membership is important to golf,'' Woods said. ''The Club continues to demonstrate its commitment to impacting the game in positive ways. I would like to congratulate both new members, especially my friend Condi Rice.''
Jack Nicklaus, a six-time Masters champion and Augusta member, extended his welcome to the two women.
''Everyone at Augusta National shares a similar passion for the game of golf, and I know they will be great additions to the club,'' Nicklaus said.
A person with knowledge of club operations said Rice and Moore first were considered as members five years ago. That would be four years after the 2003 Masters, when Burk's protest in a grass lot down the street from the club attracted only about 30 supporters, and one year after Payne became chairman. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the club keeps membership issues private, said Payne and Johnson agreed on the timing of a female member.