Open host Royal Troon votes to allow women members

The Troon members had been due to hold the vote later in the year but revised that decision after the governing body The R&A withdrew Muirfield's name from the Open hosts list when its members voted not to allow in women in May.

Royal St George's in Kent voted last year to admit women members and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews opted to end its 260-year-old male-only membership policy in September 2014.   -  Getty Images

This year's Open host Royal Troon voted overwhelmingly on Friday to admit women members — the last club which hosts European golf's most historic event to do so.

The Troon members had been due to hold the vote later in the year but revised that decision after the governing body The R&A withdrew Muirfield's name from the Open hosts list when its members voted not to allow in women in May, provoking a firestorm of criticism.

"I am delighted with the decision taken by members of Royal Troon this evening and look forward to welcoming women to our great Club," said club captain Martin Cheyne, ahead of this year's Open, taking place between July 14 and 17.

"It is the right decision for the club today and for the generations of golfers that will follow."

Northern Irish golf great and 2014 Open champion Rory McIlroy, who had been scathing about Muirfield's decision, said it was a logical move and hoped it means the sensitive issue will now not overshadow the tournament.

"It's about time," said McIlroy, after shooting a 66 to share the lead at the French Open. I said all I needed to say whenever the Muirfield thing happened as well.

"But we're in 2016 and it's just time, and besides, you've got to move with the times."

He added: "So it's a good thing that Royal Troon have voted to allow women members and at least that potential cloud over The Open Championship in a couple of weeks has been moved away, and it's a good thing."

Royal St George's in Kent voted last year to admit women members and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews opted to end its 260-year-old male-only membership policy in September 2014.

Troon, in Scotland, had previously considered itself a special case because it shares facilities with the Ladies Golf Club, Troon.

Muirfield plans to hold another vote on female membership.

The Royal Troon move was met with almost universal praise, including from Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who tweeted: "A victory for equality and common sense! Well done, Royal Troon. Hopefully Muirfield will follow suit."

In a short statement, a spokesman for The R&A welcomed the decision and "recognise its significance for the club."

"Our focus today is very much on the 145th Open in just under two weeks' time but we can now look forward to many more great Championships at Royal Troon in years to come," the spokesman added.

Women's and men's single-sex golf clubs, although reducing in number, have been a feature of golf provision in Britain and Ireland and comply with equality legislation.

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