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Japan's 2020 Olympics golf club under pressure to admit women members

January 13, 2017

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Leading up to the 2016 Summer Games, the biggest question surrounding the new golf course in Rio was whether it would be ready in time. But ahead of the 2020 Olympics, it's a far different ask. This time the question is if the host site allow women members.

Japan's Kasumigaseki Country Club, northwest of Tokyo, will be the site of the golf competition in the 2020 Olympics. And according to Kyodo News, the club does not admit women as full members, nor does it allow women to play on Sunday.

But perhaps, that could change with enough pressure. And on Friday, Tokyo's governor, Yuriko Koike, made clear her feelings on the matter.

"I feel very uncomfortable about women not being able to become a regular member in this era," said Koike, who was elected Tokyo's first female governor in August.

The debate over asking golf clubs to admit women members is nothing new, with Muirfield being in the news most in recent months. The historic club's vote to allow women members to join the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers came up just short last year, but the club will hold another vote in the next couple of months. Until women members are admitted, the R&A has said Muirfield will not host another Open Championship.

We applaud the R&A's decision, although it's interesting that Murifield has never hosted a Women's British Open. Having women play in an event -- especially one that emphasizes inclusivity like the Olympics does -- on a course where they're not fully welcome makes even less sense. At least, there's still plenty of time to make this change.