Open ChampionshipMarch 13, 2017

Muirfield's British Open fate hangs in balance as club prepares to announce vote on female members

The clubhouse seen in the sunshine on a practice day for the 2013 British Open Golf Championship at Muirfield Golf Course in Gullane, eastern Scotland on July 14, 2013 ahead of the 142nd Open Championship which begins on July 18. It will be the 16th time the East Lothian course has held the championship, Ernie Els will defend the trophy he won at Royal Lytham last year, while Tiger Woods will look to win his 15th major title. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty ImagesThe clubhouse seen in the sunshine on a practice day for the 2013 British Open Golf Championship at Muirfield Golf Course in Gullane, eastern Scotland on July 14, 2013 ahead of the 142nd Open Championship which begins on July 18. It will be the 16th time the East Lothian course has held the championship, Ernie Els will defend the trophy he won at Royal Lytham last year, while Tiger Woods will look to win his 15th major title. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers says it will announce on Tuesday the results of its latest vote to allow women as members into the club, in the process determining whether its home course, Muirfield, will return to the Open Championship venue.

Last May, the club faced a similar measure, with 64 percent of the membership voting in favor of permitted female members for the first time since the club’s inception in 1744. However, a two-thirds majority was needed for the motion to pass.

On the same day that the club released the results of this vote, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers announced that Muirfield would be taken out of the Open rota after hosting the championship 16 times previously. Slumbers said it would not return to the rota until the club changed its membership policy to allow women.

The R&A’s firm stance on the issue caused the Honourable Company to decide on conducting another vote, which took place earlier this year.

“A substantial majority of our members voted for change and many have voiced their disappointment with the ballot result and with subsequent events,” said Henry Fairweather, HCEG captain. “The Club Committee believes that a clear and decisive vote in favor of admitting women as members is required to enable us to begin the task of restoring the reputation of the Club that has been damaged by the earlier ballot outcome.”

Given the captain’s comments, and the R&A’s position, it’s expected that more than two-thirds of the membership with approve this measure.


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