Who Will Be The First Women Members Of The R&A?

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Who Will Be The First Women Members Of The R&A?

January 15, 2015

Judy Bell

In 1996 the highly-respected administrator, promoter and player became the first female president of the USGA. "Golf is for everyone regardless of race, color or physical handicaps," says the World Golf Hall of Famer and former Curtis Cup player.

Angela Bonallack

The six-time Curtis Cup player's husband is Sir Michael, a five-time British Amateur champ who was secretary of the R&A from 1984 to 1999. So she's seen its beating dark heart up close. Who knows, she may want nothing further to do with the place. And the R&A might implement a "no spouse" rule which would exclude her, too.

Kirsty Gallacher

The Scottish TV presenter is the daughter of Bernard Gallacher OBE who has appeared in 11 Ryder Cups as either a player or skipper. He was a longtime pro at Wentworth, where Kirsty grew up and became a good player. Recently separated and reportedly dating German star golfer Martin Kaymer.

Rachael Heyhoe-Flint

Captain of England's first women's team to play at Lord's Cricket Ground in 1976; awarded an MBE for services to cricket in 1972, and an OBE in 2008. One-time 5-handicap golfer.

Dame Kelly Holmes

In and out of care homes as a kid, Holmes served in the British Army for a decade before becoming a hugely-successful middle distance runner, winning gold at the 2004 Olympics at both 800 and 1,500 meters. Runs her own annual charity golf day for her foundation that supports troubled kids, and even plays occasionally, too.

Hazel Irvine

Born in St Andrews, graduated from St. Andrews University -- where she competed at golf -- joined the BBC in 1990 and became the consummate professional sports presenter, the face of the British Open, Masters and Olympics telecasts.

Sue Johnson

Vice President of the Ladies Golf Union, joint president of England Golf, administrator, single-figure golfer. Johnson was awarded an OBE for services to golf in the New Year honors list.

Jodie Kidd

At 15, holidaying in Barbados with her family, Kidd was discovered by a fashion photographer -- the posh former showjumper became a celebrity supermodel and 18-handicap pro-am regular.

Mary Peters

The pentathlete from Northern Ireland won a gold medal at the 1972 Olympics, then defied IRA death threats and returned to Belfast. Made a Dame in 2000, and in the recent New Year honors list was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to sport and Northern Ireland.

Bridget McConnell

Director of Cultural and Leisure Services, Glasgow; ranked 4th most powerful woman in Scotland by The Scotsman last year; keen golfer; married to member of the House of Lords and former First Minister of Scotland Jack McConnell.

Condoleezza Rice

The former Secretary of State, National Security Advisor and champion of the invasion of Iraq, now a avid golfer and Stanford political-science professor, is an ideal member for clubs that no longer want to be considered bastions of racism and sexism, like Augusta National (she was one of two women admitted in 2012) and Shoal Creek in her home town of Birmingham Ala. The R&A likes to think of itself as a leader, so in all likelihood won't follow Augusta's lead.

Louise Richardson

The principal of the University of St Andrews is traditionally granted R&A membership. Richardson, the first female one, was not. In the interests of obtuseness, the R&A may omit her from the shortlist.

Carol Semple Thompson

The former U.S. and British amateur champ from Pennsylvania played on 12 Curtis Cup teams, won the 2003 USGA Bob Jones Award in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf, the 2005 PGA First Lady of Golf Award, and in 2008 was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in the Lifetime Achievement category.

Virginia Wade

Aside from a stellar career in tennis as a player -- she was the 1977 Wimbledon champion -- coach and commentator, the South Africa-raised British star has been an avid golfer and golf fan. In a 2002 interview she said: "I'm glued to the golf, I love it. I play off about 17."

Trish Wilson

The HQ of the Ladies Golf Union, the governing body of female amateur golf in the U.K., is about 150 yards from the R&A clubhouse, a short yet vast gulf that would be bridged by extending a membership to the LGU's chairman. Wilson, a county-level golfer, is an experienced administrator, a senior rules official at many top events, and a member of the R&A Rules of Golf Committee.

Other contenders

Kendra Beard Graham, Angie Bray, Dr. Mary Budke, Robin Burke, Dr. Pat Cornett, Brenda Corrie Kuehn (pictured), Margaret Hamilton, Sarah LeBrun Ingram, Catherine Lacoste, Martha Lang, Lewine Mair, Caroline McCreath, Mary McKenna, Barbro Montgomery, Cécilia Mourgue d'Algue, Diana Murphy, Beth Post, Anne Sander, Lally Segard, Di Stewart, Marlene Stewart Streit, Marion Thannhauser, Heidi Ueberroth, Emma Villacieros, Vicky Whyte

Honorary members (since golf pros aren't permitted to be full members)

Laura Davies, Catriona Matthew, Lorena Ochoa, Ayako Okamoto, Julie Otto, Se Ri Pak, Annika Sorenstam (pictured)

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