Rory McIlroy has attacked the delay to the decision to admit female members to Murifield golf club as "horrendous" and does not relish The Open Championship returning to the East Lothian course. A second ballot of existing members saw 80.2% vote in favour of women being allowed to join, though 19.8% remained against the move.
A two-thirds majority was required to pass the motion, the second time the club has debated the issue after 36% voted in favour of retaining a men-only policy. As a result of the vote being passed, the course has returned to the roster considered to host The Open, with the tournament potentially returning to the Scottish venue as early as 2022.
The R&A has confirmed the course will be considered to host the oldest major championship on the golf circuit, but that has done little to improve McIlroy's mood over the vote. The world number three has mixed emotions over the belated decision which exposed golf's archaic values.
"Muirfield wouldn't be one of my favourite Open rota courses, so no matter the decision yesterday, if it had been kept off rota, I wouldn't have been that unhappy," said McIlroy, speaking before the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. "I was outspoken about this before when the vote went [against the women].
"I mean, in this day and age, where you've got women who are leaders of certain industries and women who are heads of state and not to be able to join a golf course? It's obscene, it's ridiculous. So, they sort of saw sense. I still think the fact that it got to this stage is horrendous.
"And, yeah, we'll go back and we'll play the Open, because they will let women members in [as members], but every time I go to Muirfield now I won't have a great taste in my mouth. It's horrendous, I don't get it. Look we'll go back there for the Open at some point but I won't be having tea with the members afterwards."
Muirfield has hosted The Open 16 times in its history, most recently in 2013 when American Phil Mickelson won the title. Nick Faldo won two of his six major titles at the location in 1987 and 1992.