R&A asks members to allow women to join
(AP) -- The Royal & Ancient Golf Club, exclusively for men since it was founded 260 years ago at St. Andrews, will vote in September on whether women can join the club.
"It's an exciting day for the club," R&A club secretary Peter Dawson said Wednesday. "There will be quite a bit of internal discussion between now and the September vote. It's a matter for the members to determine. All indications are very supportive."
A statement from club said that all committees were "strongly in favor of the rule change" and asked members to go along.
The move was hailed by British sports minister Helen Grant, who was hopeful a favorable vote would encourage other single-sex golf clubs to follow suit.
Dawson, however, said the vote would have no bearing on whether the British Open is played on links courses that exclude women as members - Royal St. George's, Royal Troon and Muirfield, where Phil Mickelson won last year. The Open returns to Troon in 2016.
"I don't want you to think there's any connection between this vote and these issues," Dawson said. "What other clubs choose to do in the UK is not connected to this. ... To be entirely honest, we're not here to put pressure on other clubs that have supported The Open Championship and other R&A championships."
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews has about 2,400 members from around the world and dates to 1754. The clubhouse is among the most famous buildings in golf, overlooking the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Augusta National for years was the symbol of men-only golf clubs because it hosts The Masters every April. The club announced in August 2012 that it had invited women to join for the first time - former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore.
Even though Augusta National went 80 years without a female member, it had no policy that barred women from joining. The R&A had such a policy, and that's what will be voted on in September.
Dawson said he did not think Augusta National's decision had any bearing on the R&A Golf Club.
"We noted what happened at Augusta," he said. "They have their own procedure of doing things. We are doing this because of our governance role."
He also said the R&A did not feel pressure from any of its corporate sponsors, who were subjected to the debate at the British Open.
"You can always ask that question: `Why now? Why not 10 years ago?' The R&A have been considering this. It's been on our agenda, on our radar, for quite some time," Dawson said. "The feeling is as society changes, as sport changes, as golf changes, it's something the R&A needs to do, and is doing now as being forward-looking as we can."
The 2,400-member club and the group that runs The Open are separate entities.
For years, the men-only Royal & Ancient was in charge of the Rules of Golf for every country in the world except for the United States and Mexico, which are governed by the USGA. And it operated the British Open, the oldest championship in golf.
Ten years ago, the administrative duties were split off into a corporate structure that is called "The R&A," of which Dawson is the chief executive. That's the group in charge of the Rules of Golf and organizing The Open and other R&A championships.
And while "The R&A" has female employees, its committee and board roles are populated by members of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club. So there are no women in leadership roles when it comes to rules and championship golf.
That likely will change with a favorable vote in September for female members.
"This is welcome news from the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, and I urge its members to follow their committees' recommendations and vote `yes' for women members," Grant said in a statement. "It would mark a step in the right direction for the sport and I would hope encourage the remaining golf clubs that still have anachronistic single-sex member policies to follow suit."
While the members have access to the R&A clubhouse behind the first tee at the Old Course, R&A members belong to a club, not a golf course. The seven golf courses at St. Andrews are open to the public.
Updated March 26, 2014
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the start of Patriots training camp. Players began arriving for camp on Wednesday, and Bill Belichick broke the news that Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play.
Tom "Eugene" Curran joins the guys to discuss how the Patriots look coming out of OTAs. Then Christian and Lou discuss the Patriots playbook scandal.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Tom Brady's work in mini-camp and his response to recent criticism of his play.
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.
With the non-waiver trade deadline a mere 8 days away, Buster talks about the market for guys like Cliff Lee, Jake Peavy, Koji Uehara, and the injuries Dustin Pedroia might be dealing with.
David Ross joined the show to talk a little bit about his foot injury, but mostly about some of the other guys on the team. He spoke about Jackie Bradley Jr's defense, Pedroia's leadership, and how well Christian Vasquez is playing.
Rob Bradford is joined by Red Sox leadoff hitter Brock Holt, who since being inserted into the top spot in the batting order has been among the best leadoff men in baseball. Heading into Tuesday night, no other leadoff hitter has had more hits (77) since May 23, with Holt having played every inning of every game during that stretch.
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed Jake Peavy's 1-9 record this season.
The triumphant return of Kirk Minihane.
Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher puts peanuts in his Diet Coke, and Tim learns that this is actually normal,... in the south. Lou learns that he can get his yard trimmed up nice by goats. Christian sparks a conversation about the stupidest things ever done in the name of love.
We discuss the home run achievements David Ortiz made last night that moved him ahead of Carl Yaztremski, and discuss Papi's place among all the all-time great Sox sluggers.
We tackle four topics all sparked by the unexpected emergence of young Brock Holt in the Red Sox lineup.
The fall out from Tony Dungy's comments about Michael Sam.
Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.
Mut and Villani are talking about the MLB All Star Game, Adam Wainwright and Derek Jeter, and what are some of the worst ideas in sports.
This week, Sam Packard and Zach Geld talk about the Post-Pierzynski Red Sox. Julian Edlow of the Green Street Blog, joins the program to analyze the Celtics off-season, and finally an over-eager discussion of fantasy football.
In this episode we talk about transfers across Europe, players we want to see in the MLS, and Liverpool's Joe Allen joins the show!