emfizz.com March 23, 2017

McIlroy rips into Muirfield

21 March 2017, 12:57 | Andy Ferguson

McIlroy: Muirfield visit will leave bitter taste in mouth

Rory McIlroy

Last May, the club narrowly rejected the motion to allow women members, prompting golf's governing body, the R&A, to remove the Scottish course from the list of venues eligible to host the Open Championship, worth around £80m. I mean, it's obscene. McIlroy said on Wednesday from the Bay Hill Club, where he will play at this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Now that Muirfield has voted to allow female members in a second ballot, and the R&A welcomed the club back into the Open rotation nearly simultaneously with the announcement of the club's vote, McIlroy isn't any happier with the Gullane club.

Earlier this week, Muirfield voted in in favour of admitting female members for the first time, with 498 people out of 621 backing the change.

"So, they sort of saw sense".

The course was immediately reinstated to The Open rota on Tuesday by The R&A - ten months after it was stripped of its position after the failure of the first vote - with it likely to host the event in either 2022 or 2023.

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While McIlroy stayed firmly on the critical side of the vote, many other players and organisations reacted in a more congratulatory mannor.

Chief executive Martin Slumbers believes getting more people to watch the Open, which moved from the BBC to Sky a year ago, is a similar challenge to increasing golf participation, and clubs can play a key role in aiding this. The grandstands were still up and I remember thinking, "man, I hope one day I can play in an Open in front of all these people and be walking up the last hole with its big grandstand".

The R&A has said it will market the Open Championship more to golf clubs and general sports fans in an attempt to broaden the game's appeal.

"It is a bad thing that they are not letting women play, but they Olympics can help a lot so that is a good thing".

"I think the growth of the game will be driven by increases in family golf", he said. "It shows how golf's changed".

"Muirfield is a truly outstanding Open venue and we very much look forward to taking the championship there in future", Slumbers said.

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