Golf club membership 'a matter for our members'

Augusta National’s decision to have women members for the first time inevitably means the spotlight will fall even more now on the Royal and Ancient Club, golf’s ruling body for most of the world.

Augusta National’s decision to have women members for the first time inevitably means the spotlight will fall even more now on the Royal and Ancient Club, golf’s ruling body for most of the world.

They remain men-only and a spokesman for the club said in a statement today: “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.”

Former Secretary of State Rice and business executive Moore will be presented with the famous green jackets this autumn after the host club for the US Masters, subjected to fierce criticism for years, announced its change of stance yesterday.

Their move even prompted a reaction from the White House, where a spokesman for Barack Obama said the president “welcomes this development, thinks it was too long in coming, but obviously believes it’s the right thing to do”.

Former tennis star Billie Jean King, who had her own “Battle of the Sexes” during her career and has campaigned for equality since retiring, said on Twitter: “Slowly but surely lots of crumbs add up to a cake”.

The Royal and Ancient Club run the Open Championship and among the courses on the current rota are male-only Muirfield – next year’s venue – Sandwich and Royal Troon.

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