Muirfield banned from hosting the Open after men only vote
The world's oldest golf club fails to drum up enough support to admit women members and is put into exile
The Scottish golf course Muirfield has been barred from hosting The Open after voting to uphold its policy of not accepting women as members.
The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, the world's oldest golf club which is based at the course, balloted members on the issue after a two-year consultation. It urged them to vote for an alteration to the constitution, but the move failed to reach the two-thirds majority required for change to take place.
The official result in the postal vote was 64 per cent for and 36 per cent against.
"A 33-strong group of Muirfield members cited concerns about slow play and making women 'feel uncomfortable' among the 'risks' of admitting female members when campaigning for a 'no' vote," reports The Times.
The Open's organisers, the Royal & Ancient (R&A), "acted quickly and decisively in the wake of the announcement", says the Daily Telegraph, which says it was "clearly braced for the decision and its statement from the chief executive, Martin Slumbers, was swift and unequivocal."
He said: "We will not stage the Championship at a venue that does not admit women as members... Given the schedule for staging The Open, it would be some years before Muirfield would have been considered to host the Championship again. If the policy at the club should change we would reconsider Muirfield as a venue for The Open in future."
Muirfield has hosted the Open 16 times since it was founded in 1891, most recently in 2013 when Phil Mickelson lifted the trophy.
However, there was controversy over the club's attitude towards women and the R&A pledged to "push" Muirfield to change its policy.
Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, was among the political figures who did not attend the championship, describing the club's membership policy as "indefensible in the 21st century", notes the Times.