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British Women's Golf Championship: The change at Muirfield Golf Club - Sports

British Women’s Golf Championship: The change at Muirfield Golf Club – Sports

For 273 years, the long, dark iron gate at the entrance to the Muirfield Golf Club has been an almost insurmountable obstacle for women. On the invitation of individual rounds of golf, partners and acquaintances of the male members were tolerated, but not welcomed: for most of its long and important history, Muirfield was home not only to first-ever golf rules, but also misogyny in golf, which is why The pictures have historical significance these days.

The world’s best golfers compete in the AIG Women’s Open, the British Women’s Open, the most important tournament of the year, starting Thursday. So the iron gate has opened, in the last few days you could already see big players like Jessica and Nelly Korda, favorite Jin Young Koo or German quintet Sofia Popov, Caroline Mason, Leonie Harm, Olivia Kwan and Ester Henslett how they do it. On the hard track in Golan, 40 minutes north of Edinburgh. “It’s a very big deal to play here,” said Popov, the 2020 tournament winner.

Sofia Popov won the British Open at the Royal Troon Golf Club on the west coast of Scotland, and is now a member there too. Tron, St Andrews, Carnoustie, a list of places steeped in tradition in golf that have acknowledged the changing times over the past few decades is long: golf is no longer just a gentlemen’s sport as it once was, but it has opened up and its misogynistic – and sometimes racist – prejudices in the USA Which had been a part of the game for a long time: In many places in the ancient world of golf, women were allowed to drop their men at the entrance gate, but were not allowed to play, were not allowed to eat in the same room as the male members and were not involved in sporting decisions.

Scottish Prime Minister Muirfield boycotted over anti-women rules

Some courses have taken longer to change, such as the popular Augusta National Golf Club, which has allowed female members since 2012 and has held a women’s junior tournament a week before the Masters for a number of years. And some, like Muirfield, just felt the pressure that comes with not having the will to change.

When the men played their last Open Championship in the Golan in 2013, calls for an end to anti-women membership regulations were backed by a boycott of then Scottish Prime Minister Alex Salmond, who was immediately backed by then British Prime Minister David Cameron. The A respected company of golfers in Edinburgh, the club’s official name, decided in March 2016 to vote on the future direction – and decided not to change the rules. At that time, 30 members with a special voice started an initiative not to allow women under any circumstances. Logic: They will play very slowly and the club will have to be reconfigured to have a women’s changing room.

The decision against the women had immediate consequences: The R&A, the organizing body for the Open, stripped Muirfield of the right to continue playing the traditional men’s major tournament. Given that the golf course itself is one of the best golf courses in the world, and legends like Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Gary Player and Nick Faldo all celebrated great victories there, it was a bold decision and one that had a lasting impact. In 2017, Muirfield suddenly voted for women as members, and since then, according to his own statements, a third of the new annual members have been women.

When it comes to prize money, there is still a long way to go towards equality

Five years later, a women’s professional tournament is being held at Muirfield for the first time. R&A has not yet decided whether the Men’s Open will return in the near future. “I think it’s a moral test,” British golfer Bronte Low said before the tournament. The 27-year-old suspects the 27-year-old will only get men back if Muirfield is willing to welcome women: “But I’m happy to play there. I hope we’ll be welcomed with open arms because it’s time to respect women.”

However, the road to equality is far from over, especially in first-class sport: The LIV Tour in new Saudi Arabia has added to the financial pressure in men’s golf, with record prize money being paid higher than ever before in the US – in Women’s golf The development is positive, but it is more cautious: the women at the British Open will receive 6.8 million US dollars this year, half of what the men got a few weeks ago.