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Brewing Storm at Open

With Augusta National finally admitting female members, Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the R&A, which stages The Open Championship, had a tense 45-minute press conference today trying to defend not only the lack of women in his governing-body organization but the fact that there are no female members at this year’s host, Muirfield, along with two other clubs in the Open rota, Troon and Royal St. George’s. He called it “absurd” to compare a men’s-only (or women’s-only) club to one that discriminates based on race. Men like to socialize with men and women like to socialize with women and the media need to get a life, he said in so many words. You could practically see the sweat form on Dawson’s head when a female reporter asked, “Could you just explain to the 10 women in the room why racism is unacceptable and sexism clearly still is?”

“Well, I don't really think, to be honest, and we could sit here all day and debate this, but I don't really think that a golf club, which has a policy of being a place where like-minded men or, indeed, like-minded women, go and want to play golf together and do their thing together ranks up against some of these other forms of discrimination,” Dawson responded. “I really just don't think they're comparable, and I don't think they're damaging. And it's just kind of, for some people, a way of life that they rather like. I don't think in doing that they're intending to do others down or intending to do others any harm. It's just a way of life that some of these people like. And realistically, that's all it is. You can dress it up and be a lot more if you want, but on Saturday morning when the guy gets up or the lady gets up and out of the marital bed, if you like, and goes off and plays golf with his chums and comes back in the afternoon, that's not on any kind of par with racial discrimination or anti-Semitism or any of these things. It's just what people kind of do.”

Clearly, private clubs can do whatever they like, but it becomes a bit of a sticky wicket when the club provides a public function, as they do when they host the Open. What are you thoughts on the subject?

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Feedback

  1. I don’t understand why women want to be members at mens club. I do not want to be a member at an all womens club!

    — Joe Cunneff · Wednesday July 17, 2013 ·

  2. I couldn’t agree more with tMr. Dawson. What’s the big deal? I play golf with a group of guys, is that discrimination?

    There are all sorts of organizations that are women only, and you don’t hear the men who are excluded complaining.

    No big deal, another case of a few complaining and the media running with it.

    Let the boys have their club and leave them alone.

    — Mike Bonvissuto · Wednesday July 17, 2013 ·

  3. Any private club has the right to open or deny membership to any type of potential member they desire. But it’s up to the governing golf body to decide whether they want to be associated with those clubs.

    — J Todd AXT · Wednesday July 17, 2013 ·

  4. There seems to be an ever present push to “publicize” private entities based on the window dressing of discrimination. Anyone not included in something they wish to be involved can technically claim discriminations exist . The absurdity is applying discrimination issues to hobbies, clubs and sports which seek to create privately defined standards to establish the entity itself? The world of overly sensitive people need to mature and choose bigger issues to confront and not sniffle that they were not invited to some boys birthday party because they are a girl.

    — Dave Maurer · Wednesday July 17, 2013 ·

  5. Joe, women want to get into men’s clubs because not only do they typically have the best courses but that’s also where many of the best business deals are conducted. Are you sure we’re related? And just for the record, Dave, Joe always had girls at his birthday parties.

    — Tom Cunneff · Wednesday July 17, 2013 ·

  6. I would love to be included in some of those “best business deals.” If I put on a skirt can I complain about discrimination? Enough with the excuses, life is not fair and no one said it should be.

    — Michael Bonvissuto · Wednesday July 17, 2013 ·

  7. What is the big deal? We choose to segregate ourselves as a society. I love golf but don’t like tennis so does that mean I won’t associate with a guy or girl that play tennis? No, I just accept it as their prerogative. The fact is there are still places for men that keep women from having any association and there are places for women that don’t allow men. What we need to remember is the reason we are in the messes we are in today as a world is due mainly to compromise. We are too soft to hold on to what we really believe in, we are too concerned about being politicaly correct (what is that really anyway). Regardless of our feelings the rules of Murfield are the rules and I respect them for sticking with them all these years.

    Trey T

    — Trey T · Thursday July 18, 2013 ·

  8. I was surprised Mr. Dawson even broached the subject of membership. I believe something like the below would have been more appropriate.

    “Our job at the R&A is to identify the finest tests of championship links golf in the United Kingdom for staging the Open Championship. We believe Muirfield is one of the finest tests of links golf anywhere in the UK, if not the world. The world deserves to see the Open at Muirfield. It is not our business to involve ourselves in the affairs of a private golf club. Muirfield is a private golf club and as a result, we don’t allow ourselves an opinion on anything regarding their club. We are only concerned with the course. And we feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to host the Open at such a world class links.”

    — Matt Gibb · Thursday July 18, 2013 ·



 


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