Muirfield members still not McIlroy's cup of tea

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, the club based at the East Lothian links, voted 80.2% in favour of admitting women this week, overturning a ballot that ruled against changing its male-only policy last May.

"Muirfield wouldn't be one of my favorite Open rota courses, so no matter the decision yesterday, if it had been kept off The Open rota, I wouldn't have been that unhappy", said McIlroy, who missed the cut at Muirfield in 2013. "Times are changing and hopefully people like me playing golf will change things".

The club said the current waiting list suggested that new candidates for membership could expect to wait two to three years, or longer, to join the club. I mean, I just don't get it.

British number one Charley Hull would welcome the Women's British Open being held at Muirfield after a vote in favour of allowing female members was passed on Tuesday [14 March]. "It is extremely important for us in staging one of the world's great sporting events that women can become members at all of our host clubs", Martin Slumbers, the group's chief executive, said in a statement.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Northern Irishman welcomed the decision of the latest ballot, which saw 498 of 621 voters back the inclusion of women members.

"So anyway, we'll go back there for the Open Championship at some point and I won't be having many cups of tea with the members afterwards".

The R&A has said it will market the Open Championship more to golf clubs and general sports fans in an attempt to broaden the game's appeal. They don't apply, they have to be proposed and seconded by members, but anybody who is interested in becoming a member of Muirfield, I would say: "'Go for it'". "Muirfield is a truly outstanding Open venue and we very much look forward to taking the championship back there in future".

The earliest that the R&A will call upon Muirfield to host the Open is 2022.

"It will help make the golf course notice that if they want to have a place like that in the Olympics as a venue, then they have to change".

Her story highlights the golfer's determination to become one of the best players in the world, in spite of the barriers she faced as a woman in a male dominated sport.

  • Julie Sanders