LPGA Tour players cheered the Royal and Ancient Golf Club’s decision to finally admit female members, calling it a historic decision and a step in the right direction.
Scotland’s R&A Golf Club of St Andrews on Thursday voted to allow women members for the first time in its 260-year history. The vote passed by a margin of 85 per cent in favour to 15 per cent against.
“I am thrilled the R&A has voted overwhelmingly to allow female members,” said 10-time major winner Annika Sorenstam.
“This is a great day for golf and a historic one for women in golf.”
“It’s great obviously,” added Canadian veteran golfer Lorie Kane. “I guess a long time coming.”
The move comes two years after Augusta National admitted its first two female members and was welcomed by the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).
“The LPGA is happy to hear that the members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews have voted to include female members,” said spokesperson Kelly Thesier.
“This decision is certainly a step in the right direction and one that better captures the current diversity and inclusiveness of our great game.”
The PGA of America president Ted Bishop said the move would help grow the game internationally.
“Women have played and will continue to play an integral role in the game of golf. In fact, women represent the biggest growth market in the sport, and every step to make golf more inclusive is good for the game,” Bishop said.
“The PGA of America is thrilled that the R&A is welcoming women into its organisation, and loudly applauds its decision.”
Pressure to allow female members had been mounting from sponsors, with HSBC’s global head of sponsorship Giles Morgan saying in January: “The R&A are clear it’s a very uneasy position for the bank.”
Responding to the vote, Morgan said: “As a partner of the R&A and a long-term international sponsor of golf, we welcome this news with open arms.
“We look forward to continuing this successful partnership at St Andrews in 2015 for what promises to be the start of a new era.”
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