Muirfield hosts the Women’s Open for first time, 5 years after first permitting girls members

It has been an extended wait that seemed set to be extended in Could 2016 when the privately owned membership’s members — The Honorable Firm of Edinburgh Golfers — voted in opposition to overturning its male-only membership coverage. Established in 1744 at Leith in Edinburgh, the membership moved to the East Lothian website in 1891.
The results of that vote was labeled “obscene” by four-time main champion Rory McIlroy and “indefensible” by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and the Royal and Historic (R&A) — organizers of the Open — promptly banned the course from internet hosting the foremost.
Nevertheless, Muirfield was reinstated as an Open venue in March the next yr after a contemporary poll noticed the membership vote 80.2% in favor of accepting feminine members, reaching the two-thirds majority wanted to overturn the 2016 vote.

5 years on, the course opens its doorways for the fifth and closing main of the ladies’s season, a lot to the delight of the contributors.

It will likely be a particular type of pleasure for Scottish golfer Catriona Matthew who, past having the chance to expertise a significant only a brief drive from house, will go down in historical past as the primary girl to tee off at Muirfield in a Women’s Open.

“It’s a huge honor when you’re asked to do something like that,” Matthew, Open champion at Royal Lytham in 2009, informed reporters Tuesday.

“I think it’s going to be a great experience … all the players will have watched the men play here over the years and I think they are delighted to have that opportunity to come here and play their own Open.

“That simply elevates this championship, and we at the moment are going to programs that individuals are used to seeing The Open and the majors on. I feel it is good for us.”

Matthew holds the trophy aloft following her Open victory at Royal Lytham St Annes Golf Club, England in 2009.

The 52-year-old admitted she was “disenchanted” with the initial vote to maintain male-only membership, but believes the reversal showed progress is being made.

“You simply must look ahead moderately than look backwards,” Matthews added. “Golf, beginning in Scotland, we had much more traditions maybe, that we’re simply progressively transferring with the occasions.

“Hopefully any girls or boys who are golfing, they can see both the men and the women playing the same golf courses, which is good.”

Lioness classes

Anna Nordqvist arrives in East Lothian because the defending Open champion, having clinched a one-stroke victory at Carnoustie final yr. Along with her first main look coming as an novice on the occasion in 2007, the triumph consolidated a “special” connection between the three-time major-winning Swede and the Open.

“I’ve heard a lot about Muirfield,” Nordqvist mentioned. “I know the guys have played here over the years, so I think it’s an amazing opportunity for us to have Muirfield added to our Open rotation.

“Coming in via the gate, (I) noticed my image — it is the primary image you see — clearly it nonetheless feels fairly surreal to have my identify on the trophy,” she added.

Nordqvist poses with the Open trophy after victory at Carnoustie in Scotland, 2021.
A historic Open at Muirfield marks the continuation of a landmark week for women’s sport, following England’s footballing Lionesses’ first ever international championship win on Sunday, watched by a Euro final record crowd at Wembley Stadium.

Despite the pain of seeing Sweden routed 4-0 in the semi-final by the eventual champions, Nordqvist sees parallels in the increased coverage of women’s football and golf.

“It is simply thrilling to see that I feel girls’s sport (all) over the world is getting extra consideration,” she said.

“It was fairly an enormous occasion, the best way they have been internet hosting it and the TV occasions, I feel that is essential. Our tee occasions are getting higher, too. A number of occasions, we tee off early as a result of (of) … the fellows’ schedule.”

‘Recharged’

While Nordqvist tees off as reigning champion, Brooke Henderson starts as arguably the form player.

With her second major victory at the Evian Championship in July, the Canadian made it two Tour wins in just over a month. The 24-year-old has finished no lower than 16th in any of her previous five events.

After withdrawing from the Scottish Open, won by Japan’s Ayaka Furue on Sunday, Henderson is “recharged” and raring to go.

Brooke Henderson center, celebrates after winning the Evian Championship.

“To be enjoying this yr, it actually means so much to all of us,” she said. “It is simply proof that the ladies’s sport is continuous to develop — the purse sizes are growing, we’re on community TV extra, and we’re enjoying these higher venues.

“It’s just a really fun time to be a part of women’s golf, because it is growing so much and we feel like we’re making a difference for future generations.”

After a three-month hiatus that started in March, attributable to a blood clot, World No. 3 Nelly Korda is relishing each second again on Tour, particularly forward of a landmark main.
Fan picks up Nelly Korda's ball while it's still in play at women's golf major

“I was extremely excited to come out and play this event this year,” she mentioned.

“I knew the history, and the fact that we were going to be the first female tournament out here, too, was pretty amazing.

“So I used to be simply extra excited to truly be out right here and to get to play this golf course and soak all of it up, in addition to the historical past of this place.”

Catriona Matthew is about to tee off first in her group alongside Sophia Schubert and Louise Duncan at 6:30 a.m. native time (01:30 a.m. ET) on Thursday.