LONDON, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The Royal & Ancient golf club’s decision to allow women members after 260 years on Thursday has been widely welcomed within and beyond the game.
Here are a selection of reactions to the vote, which was passed with an 85 percent majority:
Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A: ”This is a very important and positive day in the history of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.
“The R&A has served the sport of golf well for 260 years and I am confident that the club will continue to do so in future with the support of all its members, both women and men.”
Helen Grant, Britain’s minister for sport: “This is positive news for the sport and I hope we will now see other golf clubs that still have outdated same sex policies follow suit,” she said.
“With golf in the next Olympics there is a huge opportunity for the sport to grow and this sends out the right inclusive message that golf is for everyone.”
Giles Morgan, HSBC bank’s head of sponsorship and events (who said previously that the bank, a major sponsor, was in an “uneasy position” over the all-male membership at Muirfield, host of last year’s British Open):
”As a partner of the R&A and a long-term international sponsor of golf, we welcome this news with open arms.
”HSBC is committed to growing the game at all levels and fundamental to this is our commitment to the value of diversity and our support of women’s golf which is a cornerstone of our global golf portfolio.
The LPGA Tour (of the United States): ”The LPGA is happy to hear that the members of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews have voted to include female members.
“This decision is certainly a step in the right direction and one that better captures the current diversity and inclusiveness of our great game.”
Ted Bishop, president of the PGA of America: ”Women have played and will continue to play an integral role in the game of golf. In fact, women represent the biggest growth market in the sport, and every step to make golf more inclusive is good for the game.
“The PGA of America is thrilled that the R&A is welcoming women into its organization, and loudly applauds its decision.”
Shona Robison, Scotland’s cabinet secretary for sport and equalities: ”In the week before Scotland welcomes golf fans from across the world for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, this decision is another step on the road to full equality in sport and society.
”This decision by the world’s most exclusive and prestigious golf club sees real progress towards making golf a more equal sport, which is very important.
“We firmly believe that there should be no barriers at all to being involved in sport with everyone able to participate in and enjoy sport - whoever they are and whatever their background. I hope this welcome development leads to the few remaining single-gender golf clubs to take a similar path.”
Laura Davies, Britain’s most successful female golfer: ”I think it is great news - back when I turned pro I would never have imagined that this could ever happen.
“I think it is a huge step forward for the R&A and women’s golf and everyone will be delighted with the result.”
Charley Hull, who at the age of 17 last year became the youngest player to appear in the Solheim Cup: ”I think it’s fantastic - I am sure it’s because the members were so impressed how amazing the women played at last year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open over the Old Course (of St Andrews).
“Golf needs to get a bit more modern and we can’t be doing with single sex golf clubs in this day and age, especially not ones where Majors are held.”
Catriona Matthew, Scottish four-times LPGA winner: “This was certainly an easier result to predict than the other vote going on up here today. I think it is brilliant news and a great start to such an important day in Scotland.” (Editing by Mark Meadows)