12 Women Invited to Join Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield
IT may or may not be coincidence, and I may or may not be an old cynic, but Muirfield has finally announced that it is allow women to join its supposedly hallowed ranks - just as the R&A was about to allocate The Open Championship. You will remember that the course lost the right to stage the sport's oldest major championship because of its arcane policy towards women.
Muirfield or the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers to give them their full title, who are based at the East Lothian Links, voted to change their controversial membership policy barring women two years ago, but only after much protest and lobbying at the very highest levels, including the Houses of Parliament.
After receiving applications and assessing them through their traditional lengthy procedure, the club have now invited 12 women to take up membership of the 275-year-old organisation from July 1.
Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography
Alistair Campbell, the captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, said: “This marks a milestone in the club’s illustrious history, and we look forward to welcoming all of our new members to share in the great values and traditions of our club.”
The men-only policy at Muirfield attracted considerable negative publicity the last time the course hosted the Open Championship in 2013. Calls for change, however, were initially rejected by the club after a vote in 2016 and, consequently, Muirfield was suspended from The Open rota by the R&A.
It was reinstated after another vote was taken in 2017 when 80.2% of members finally backed a change in policy. Many believe that the Open will now return to Muirfield in 2023 or 2024.
On the back of today's announcement that 12 women have been invited to become members of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, I think it would be safe to assume @theopen will be returning to Muirfield in 2023 or 2024 @ScotsmanSport @edinburghsport pic.twitter.com/ucUj7loXMx— Martin Dempster (@DempsterMartin) June 27, 2019
Speaking of the game’s original major, the winner of this year’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush will receive £1.5m, which is an increase of £35,500 from 2018. The total prize fund at Royal Portrush has increased from £8.28m to £8.48m.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “The Open is a global sporting event and our priority is to ensure that this is reflected in the prize fund. We have a long-term strategy to ensure The Open remains at the forefront of golf and maintains its unique allure in sporting terms.
“We are also committed to investing in our other major championships, especially the AIG Women’s British Open.”
For the record, tickets for the 2020 Open at Royal St George's go on sale on Monday, July 1. You can forget about getting hold of a ticket for this year's tournament. They were sold out many months ago.
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