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SBD Global/August 23, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Augusta National Ruling Will Make R&A Golf Club Feel Heat Over No-Women Policy

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club will "not be rushed into admitting female members" in the wake of Augusta National’s decision to invite two women to join their previously all-male club, according to James Corrigan of the London TELEGRAPH. The club, which has acted as the game's governing body during its 258-year history, as well as overseen the running of the Open Championship -- "seemed to welcome Augusta’s move but also reiterated its own no-female policy." In a statement, the governing body said, “We read the announcement from Augusta National with great interest and we congratulate Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore on their membership. The rules of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews specify a male membership and this policy remains a matter for our members to determine.” With the addition of Rice and Moore as green-jackets, the Open’s “traditional trio” will be the only courses hosting majors with male-only membership policies. Therefore, the R&A "can, and will, expect heat," even if the R&A does have a female member by next July (TELEGRAPH, 8/21).

NO KNEE-JERK REACTIONS: In Dundee, Steve Scott wrote that R&A CEO Peter Dawson is on holiday but has persistently stated the club is ''not going to involve itself in social engineering'' by insisting host clubs for the oldest major are inclusive (THE COURIER, 8/22). In Edinburgh, Nick Rodger wrote, "The times they are a changing," adding that Monday's announcement by Augusta National was a "hugely significant moment that speaks to the golfing world on a larger level." Whether this trend "sweeps across the Atlantic and the wind of change swirls around the dusty golfing corridors" of the U.K. remains to be seen. A brief statement on the matter from R&A Golf Club suggested that "nothing would be happening overnight." The R&A doesn't "do knee-jerk reactions, after all" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 8/22).
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