GULLANE, Scotland (KMOX/AP) – It only took 273 years to convince Muirfield to admit female members into it’s golf club.
Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (HCEG), which owns Muirfield, members voted last May to retain its male-only policy, which led to the course being taken off the list of 10 courses that can host the British Open. A second vote was tallied in Gullane, Scotland, Tuesday, with just over 80 percent approval to allow women members. A two-thirds majority was required for the change.
The last time Muirfield hosted the British Open was 2013, when Phil Mickelson won. It has hosted the prestigious tournament 16 times since 1892.
The R&A, which organizes the British Open, said Muirfield was back in the rotation to stage the world’s oldest major.
“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,” Muirfield club captain Henry Fairweather said. “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 is essentially Europe’s version of the USGA. The two organizations govern the rules and regulations, and are in charge of the most popular tournaments in the world.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews opened its membership to women in 2014 for the first time in 260 years. Royal St. George’s and Royal Troon, two other British Open hosts, ended their male-only membership policies last year. Augusta National, home of the Masters, decided in 2012 to invite women to join.
However, it will still be a few years or more until a women becomes a member of Muirfield, because of the current waiting list for membership.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)