Muirfield is slated to announce next month whether the club’s antiquated male-only policy has come to an end.
The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, owners of the club, voted in May to continue to deny women full membership.
Amid backlash from all corners, Muirfield was stricken from the The Open Championship rota. The obvious expectation is that if Muirfield has voted to admit female members, the R&A will return the club to the rotation.
The club recently convened for a second vote. And, keeping us in suspense, the Honourable Company announced Thursday the results of that vote won’t be made public until the middle of March.
“Voting in favor of the resolution to admit women as members is recommended, unanimously, by the captain, captain nominate, and the club committee of the Honourable Company.”
It would be unfair to cast the entire membership as beating back against the tide of progress. Policy votes at Muirfield require a two-thirds majority for ratification. During the May vote, 36 percent of the 616 members were against admitting women. Obviously, had that number been 32 percent, we’d be having a very different conversation and, perhaps, lauding the club for joining the modern age.
Regardless, as Augusta National’s 2012 admission of its first female members firmly symbolized, the days of the all-male club are over.
The Open has been contested at Muirfield 16 times as far back as 1892. Phil Mickelson broke through to capture his first Champion Golfer of the Year honors at the 2013 edition.
Times are changing and as all-male clubs become a thing of the past, take a look at how women on the cover of Golf Digest has evolved over the years (it’s only gotten worse):
Bob Bradley is excitement personified. Source: Twitter
May 1977: Jane Blalock
Ugh. Even when there isn’t a problem at first blush, there’s a problem... “How women can be tougher competitors.” Right, because those huntin’ men are naturally tougher competitors and we women folk are just here gatherin’ berries!
February 1979: Nancy Lopez and Tom Watson
No massive problems. OBVIOUSLY we couldn’t give Nancy her own cover though.
October 1992: Juli Inkster
You just can’t make this stuff up... “In this "test cover" of which about 50,000 copies were sent to newsstands, Juli Inkster exhibits textbook form through impact with a fairway wood. The golfer on the rest of the some 1.5 million copies of this issue? U.S. Open champion Corey Pavin, striking exactly the same pose.”
January 2007: Annika Sorenstam
Sweet baby Jesus! It only took 57 years to get it right.
March 2013: Holly Sonders
OR NOT. The first woman on the cover of Golf Digest in nearly five years, ladies and gentleman. Here’s GD’s wriggling rationalization: “Holly Sonders might have been an unlikely selection for our cover when you consider she hasn't played a single round on the LPGA Tour."
October 2014: Michelle Wie
Adhering to Golf Digest’s new “You can only appear on our cover as a woman with midriff exposed” policy… Also, no offense, but I’m not sure Michelle Wie was the “greatest” LPGA-er in 2014. But hey, selling magazines.
May 2015: Lexi Thompson
I know we all need to pitch in to #growthegame. But what the hell, Lexi Thompson? Penthouse has more conservative covers. Big WTF to everyone involved with “The Towel Issue.”