Muirfield golf club finally allows women to join
Decision means Scottish course is once again eligible to host The Open – although it will have to wait
Muirfield golf club has voted to admit women members for the first time, a decision that means it is once again eligible to host The Open.
Members of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (HCEG) voted in favour of the move by 498 to 123.
"The rule change required a two third's majority and Tuesday's vote appears to have exceeded that with ease. More than 92 per cent of members voted," reports the Daily Telegraph.
"A first postal ballot on admitting women members held last May came up two per cent short, causing the R&A, the ruling body which oversees the game's oldest major, to tell the privately-owned links that it would no longer be considered as a host venue of the Open," continues the paper, which adds that being back on the roster for the competition could put the course in line for an £80m windfall.
Last year's decision was criticised by prime minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, while former Open champion Roy McIlroy said: "In this day and age, it's not right to host the world's biggest tournament at a place that does not allow women to become members."
Despite the change, Muirfield will not be able to host the Open again until 2022, says The Independent: "The venues up to 2019 had previously been announced, with Royal St George's named as the host for 2020 in February. The 150th edition of the Open in 2021 is set to be held at St Andrews."
HCEG captain Henry Fairweather said: “This is a significant decision for a club which was founded in 1744 and retains many of the values and aspirations of its founding members.
"We look forward to welcoming women as members who will enjoy, and benefit from, the great traditions and friendly spirit of this remarkable club."
It may take a while for things to change in the clubhouse, says the BBC. "While the change to admit women members takes affect immediately, the club admits it is likely to be at least two years before the first woman successfully negotiates its lengthy joining process.
"Despite previously not being able to become members of Muirfield, women had been able to play on the links course and visit the clubhouse as guests and visitors."