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Muirfield vote to allow women members to return to Open Championship rota

Muirfield golf club have voted to allow women members in a landmark decision that will see the course returned to the Open Championship rota.

After the first vote narrowly failed to achieve the two-thirds majority required in May last year, the R&A immediately announced that the East Lothian course would no longer be considered to host the game's most prestigious event.

But following a second vote Henry Fairweather, the captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (HCEG) which owns and runs the course, announced the change in membership policy on Tuesday.

The rule change passed by 498 to 123 after a second vote, with 80 per cent of members in favour.

Mr Fairweather said: "This is a significant decision for a club which was founded in 1744 and retains many of the values and aspirations of its founding members.

"We look forward to welcoming women as members who will enjoy, and benefit from, the great traditions and friendly spirit of this remarkable club."

The R&A quickly followed suit confirming the course would now once again be eligible for Open consideration.

Muirfield has staged the Open 16 times and produced a who's who of champions, including Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo (twice), Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson.

Speaking after the first vote, former Open champion Rory McIlroy said: "They (Muirfield) can do what they want, but in this day and age it's not right to host the world's biggest tournament at a place that does not allow women to become members.

"Hopefully they can see some sense and we can get it back there one day."

Muirfield last staged the Open in 2013 and the earliest it could do so again would be 2022. The venues up to 2019 had previously been announced, with Royal St George's named as the host for 2020 in February.


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