Muirfield golf course in East Lothian, Scotland, has been barred from hosting The Open Championship after its members voted against allowing women to join the club. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St Andrews (R&A) made the announcement after a member vote to decide whether to allow female members did not receive the required two-thirds majority.
The R&A responded to the vote by declaring it would not select a venue that excludes women as members. Muirfield and Royal Troon are the only Open venues that still exclude women, although the latter – which will host the championships this year – is currently consulting its members on whether to change its policy of having separate men's and women's clubs.
In a tweet, the R&A explained: "Going forward we will not stage @TheOpen at a venue that does not admit women as members. (sic)"
Meanwhile, Martin Slumbers, R&A chief executive, said the organisation would only reconsider its decision if Muirfield accepts female members. "We have consistently said that it is a matter for the Honourable Company to conduct a review of its membership policy and that we would await their decision," he explained, according to the BBC.
"The R&A has considered today's decision with respect to The Open Championship. The Open is one of the world's great sporting events and going forward we will not stage the Championship at a venue that does not admit women as members.
"Given the schedule for staging The Open, it would be some years before Muirfield would have been considered to host the Championship again. If the policy at the club should change we would reconsider Muirfield as a venue in future."
Murifield last hosted the Open in 2013, when American Phil Mickelson won the coveted Claret Jug. But patrons opposed to allowing female members cited concerns about slow play and making women "feel uncomfortable" among their chief reasons.
The R&A, for its part, opened its membership to women only two years ago. Since then, another of the Open-hosting venues, Royal St George's in Kent, has lifted its own ban on female members.