R&A won’t ‘bully’ clubs to take women members
Just because the home of the Masters now has female members, the
Royal & Ancient Golf Club has no plans to pressure the all-male
clubs in the British Open rotation to change its membership
The British Open is being played this summer at Muirfield, which
has no female members.
”There is nothing wrong under UK legislation with a single-sex
club as long as they behave under the equality act as far as guest
access is concerned, which Muirfield certainly does,” R&A
chief executive Peter Dawson said Tuesday. ”And to think the
R&A might say to a club like Muirfield, `You are not going to
have The Open anymore unless you change your policy,’ is frankly a
bullying position that we would never take.”
Attention on all-male clubs that host golf tournaments has
shifted across the Atlantic Ocean to the oldest championship.
Muirfield, Royal St. George’s and Royal Troon as the three clubs in
the Open rotation that do not have women as members.
Augusta National, for the first time in its 80-year history,
invited two women to join the club last summer. Former Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore
were seen in their members’ green jackets at the Masters two weeks
Dawson said only 1 percent of golf clubs in Britain have
single-gender policies, most of them in Scotland. He noted that
Muirfield has twice held the Curtis Cup – matches between female
amateurs from the U.S. and Britain and Ireland – and that the
British Women’s Amateur will be held next year at Royal St.
”Muirfield has a huge history when it comes to The Open
Championship and this will be the 16th time that is has been played
there, and who are we to say what they should do as they are
behaving perfectly legally,” Dawson said.