Sturgeon: Muirfield decision to ban women is indefensible

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 19, 2016 13:41

The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has said that Muirfield’s decision to continue refusing women on becoming members is “indefensible”.

Others have called the move, which means that the historic Scottish golf club will lose its right to host the Open, an “embarrassment for golf”.

The men-only privately owned links in East Lothian, which is the home of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, is on the rota for hosting the Open Championship, which it last hosted in 2013. However, The R&A has said it will no longer allow clubs that refuse to let women join them host the tournament after this summer, when men-only Royal Troon, which is reviewing its policy, hosts the 2016 Open.


Nicola Sturgeon

Muirfield has announced it had voted against allowing women to join following a campaign that cited concerns about slow play and making women ‘feel uncomfortable’ among the ‘risks’ of admitting female members.

To admit women golfers as members, Muirfield needed two thirds (432) of its 648 eligible voters to back the move.

But after a two-year consultation process, it fell short of that number.

Nicola Sturgeon said Muirfield’s stance was “simply indefensible”.

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers added: “We have consistently said that it is a matter for the Honourable Company to conduct a review of its membership policy and that we would await their decision.

“The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events and going forward 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 in future.”

Within minutes of the announcement, the hashtag Muirfield began trending on Twitter, with almost all the comments either negative about the club and the decision or praising The R&A for removing its Open hosting privelige.

Comments included “what an embarrassment for golf” and “this is everything that’s wrong with that sport”.

Golf writer Ewan Murray said: “Even a club not renowned for self-awareness has cause to be embarrassed.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 19, 2016 13:41
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