By Becky Gee
The golfing world is bracing itself for the result of Muirfield’s re-vote on the ‘women issue,’ set to be released tomorrow.
But despite a year-long controversy surrounding the issue, which began when a motion to admit women to the East Lothian club narrowly failed to reach a two-thirds majority last May, the truth is that whilst we believe there is no room in this day and age to defend an institution that wants to disallow members on the basis of gender, do we really care?
While the members rehash last year’s chauvinistic arguments about why admitting women may mess-up their dinner plans or slow down play, what they appear to have forgotten is that no women in their right-mind has any desire to join forces with an antiquated band of old-fogies.
Thanks, but no thanks.
The captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers has urged its members to vote in favour of the motion, undoubtedly because the R&A have stated that Muirfield will not host another Open Championship unless they do so. Of course there are other issues at stake here. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among those who condemned the move, describing it as ‘indefensible.’
“In the wake of the last vote, it became very clear to members that, while we are a club, there are wider implications at play here,” one member told the Guardian.
“We have responsibilities to East Lothian and to Scotland. The Open is the fourth biggest sporting event in the UK and does have a strong economic impact.’’
Royal Troon were faced with the same dilemma last year, shortly before staging golf’s oldest major, when they moved forward a vote about female membership to avoid the same negative headlines as those garnered by Muirfield in the fallout of their initial vote.
It looks as though the Edinburgh club will choose the ‘right’ path this time around, if only under duress, although the outcome of tomorrow’s vote is certainly not a given.
So Muirfield, swallow your pride for the sake of the Open Championship. Hang your head and take your first ominous step towards the 21st century. You needn’t worry. There won’t be any women there to meet you on the other side.
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