Rick Reilly takes the R&A to task for their policy on women but as he explains and few knew, the R&A which governs the game outside North America is different than the 2400-member, male-only Royal and Ancient Golf Club that are now merely caretakers of the St. Andrews clubhouse.
He still asked the R&A where it stands in light of Augusta's addition of two female members.
"The Rules of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews specify a male membership," Royal and Ancient media director Malcolm Booth emailed yesterday, "and this policy remains a matter for our Members to determine."
Hey, buddy. Do you have the year?
Does this seem odd to you? The home club of the governing body that decides how most women in the world play golf doesn't have a single woman in it?
"That's a little archaic," says Debbie Waitkus of Women in the Golf Industry.
That's a LOT archaic. Where's the next meeting, Stonehenge?
Alistair Tait tried to contact Peter Dawson but was unable to while exploring the R&A's stance on discriminatory clubs. Tait also considers the status of several Open hosts (including 2013 site Muirfield) who are male-only, and concludes they may dig in.
”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.”
Ironically, the chances of women joining the aforementioned clubs might have been set back rather than improved by Augusta’s decision. As one long-standing Royal & Ancient member who did not wish to be named said, “I don’t think it will make any difference. I think the clubs will continue to do what they want. In fact, they might just dig their heels in and tell everyone to mind their own business.”
The decision to create the R&A to govern the game separately of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews was long thought to be driven by the desire to protect members from a manufacturer or player lawsuit. But in light of the current issue with membership policies, perhaps that was part of the thinking too?
The R&A website features a tribute to its old friends, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, under the "Heritage" banner.
• To be a members’ golf club, having a clubhouse with high-quality facilities and reasonable access to first-class golfing facilities for day-to-day play, including competitions and matches, and for two Meetings of the members to be held in the Spring and Autumn.
• To maintain the position of St Andrews as the Home of Golf and to assist the Trustees and the Management Committee of the St Andrews Links Trust in the development of appropriate golfing facilities.
• To provide temporary accommodation for members of the Club and others.
• To acquire and preserve records and artefacts relating to the history of the game of golf either directly or indirectly.
• To give Peter Dawson headaches!