Former Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson, who famously declared in 2002 that he wouldn’t admit women to the club “at the point of a bayonet,” personally nominated Darla Moore to become one of the first two female members, according to a report Tuesday by Bloomberg.
“She has a long connection with me,” Johnson said, according to the report. “I’ve had her as a guest at the club a number of times along with her husband. She’s a sweet lady.”
Augusta National announced Monday that Moore and Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State, were the newest members of the club, ending 80 years of all-male membership.
In the past 10 years Johnson, who was succeeded by current chairman Billy Payne in 2006, has sparked plenty of controversy with his remarks regarding the club’s all-male policy.
In 2003, during the annual pre-tournament press conference at the Masters, Johnson said, “I do want to make one point, though. If I drop dead, right now, our position will not change on this issue.”
According to the report, Johnson and Moore graduated from the University of South Carolina and have been friends since the late 1990s. Johnson, who told Bloomberg that he has played golf with Moore on many occasions and described her skill level as “very good,” did not elaborate on the nomination process.
“That’s a club matter that I’m not going to discuss,” Johnson said, according to the report.