Muirfield opens doors to women - and the Open - Times LIVE
   
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Tue Apr 25 10:33:47 SAST 2017

Muirfield opens doors to women - and the Open

AFP | 2017-03-15 07:36:53.0
Lee Westwood of England chips onto the 18th green during the second round of the British Open golf Championship at Muirfield in Scotland. File photo
Image by: BRIAN SNYDER / REUTERS

Scottish golf course Muirfield voted yesterday to admit female members, which immediately allows the historic links to regain its status as a British Open venue.

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, voted in favour of admitting women members for the first time by 498 to 123, club captain Henry Fairweather announced.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, the sport's joint-ruling body with the US Golf Association, said Muirfield could now become a venue for the British Open once again.

"This is a significant decision for a club that was founded in 1744 and retains many of the values and aspirations of its founding members," Fairweather said.

"We look forward to welcoming women as members."

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: "In the light of today's decision by the Honourable Company we can confirm that Muirfield will become a venue for the Open once again.

"Muirfield has a long and important history of hosting the Open and with today's announcement that will continue.

"It is extremely important for us in staging one of the world's great sporting events that women can become members at all of our host clubs."

The club said the current waiting list suggested that new candidates for membership could expect to wait two to three years, or longer, to join the club.

Muirfield has staged the Open on 16 occasions since 1892 and most recently in 2013, when America's Phil Mickelson won. It was due to host the Open again in 2023.

Women have played golf at Muirfield, east of Edinburgh, since 1904. They were admitted as guests but not as members.

Women and men's single-sex golf clubs, although reducing in number, have been a feature of golf provision in Great Britain and Ireland and comply with equality legislation.

In 2014 St Andrews chose to admit female members for the first time after 260 years, with Royal St George's in Kent following suit in 2015.

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