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Course to return to Open rota

Muirfield relents and votes to allow women members

MuirfieldMuirfield will return to The Open Championship rota after overwhelmingly voting to allow women members.

The East Lothian links was struck off the list of host venues by the R&A, golf’s governing body, after failing to reach a two-thirds majority when voting on the matter the first time last May.

Following a furious backlash, the home to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers decided on a second vote, the result of which saw 498 votes in favour with 123 against.

Muirfield has staged The Open six times, USA Ryder Cup star Phil Michelson capturing the Claret Jug on the last occasion in 2013.

With venues confirmed up until 2020 and the Old Course expected to host the 150th Open Championship in 2021, it will be 2022 before Muirfield can expect to be handed the privilege again.

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, said: “In 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 of all of our host clubs.

“Muirfield is a truly outstanding Open venue and we very much look forward to taking the Championship back there in future.”

Although women were allowed to play the course as guests or visitors, they haven’t been permitted to hold full memberships until now.

Muirfield 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.”

> Daily Business Comment: It is worrying that 20% of Muirfield Golf Club members still did not support women as members in this second vote. This leaves a bad taste.

The R&A should insist on a 100% vote in order for a club to be considered as an Open venue.

It is the R&A and not the club which takes the revenue from the event, but the club will not go empty-handed. Those members who won’t accept change will not turn away any contributions women make towards the club’s well-being. 

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