The Daily Mail's Gavin Madeley quotes a letter from General Committee chairman Wilson Sibbet asking Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews members to consider inviting female members.
He writes that ‘now is the time to ask members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club to welcome female members into the club.’
The letter continues: ‘It is of course for members to decide if they wish to alter the rules of the club to give effect to this change of policy.
The General Committee sincerely hopes that this rules change will be enthusiastically supported.’
**John Huggan says the Royal and Ancient member vote will be on the same day Scotland holds its referendum on independence from the UK, and that to vote members will have to be present in St. Andrews.
Peter Dawson made sure to clarify that Open host courses can still discriminate as long as the law allows.
"This should not be interpreted as the R&A declaring we will not take the Open to a single-sex club in future," Dawson confirmed. "As long as clubs are behaving legally and they are the best courses for the Open, then we have to put the needs of the championship high on our list of priorities. So this is merely a step along the direction of travel for us. We're not intending to place other clubs under pressure. The governing body issue is primarily driving this forward."
**There is still understandable confusion about the difference between the R&A and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. Chief Inspector Dawson even sounded like he was a bit annoyed at the confusion.
The R&A is not a club but a business that employees both men and women.
Adding to the confusion is that the Royal & Ancient clubhouse sits behind the first tee and 18th green of the Old Course, perhaps the most famous course in the world. But it does not own or run the operations of the course. The St. Andrews Links Trust runs the seven town courses, including the Old Course, and all are open to the public.
Dawson joined the club as secretary in 1999 and kept the role when being named CEO of the separate R&A in 2004.
"In 2004, we split the external duties into a corporate structure, the R&A," Dawson said. "The connection between the two is that the committees [at the R&A] are populated by members of the club.
"The media and others have always refused to recognize the distinction and describe us as a single organization, a single-sex organization."