Sports · August 5, 2022

Muirfield is hosting the Women’s Open for the first time, five years after first allowing women’s members

It was a long wait that seemed set to extend into May 2016 when members of the privately owned club – The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers – voted against overturning its male-only membership policy. Founded in 1744 in Leith in Edinburgh, the club moved to East Lothian headquarters in 1891.
The result of that vote was labeled “obscene” by four-time world champion Rory McIlroy and “indefensible” by Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and the Royal and Ancient (R&A) – organizers of the Open – promptly banned from hosting the major.
However, Muirfield was reinstated as an open venue in March of the following year after a new ballot saw the club vote 80.2% in favor of women’s acceptance, achieving the two-thirds majority needed to overturn the vote. vote of 2016.

Five years later, the course opens its doors for the fifth and final major of the women’s season, much to the delight of the participants.

It's a family affair for two-time main champion Brooke Henderson

It will be a special emotion for Scottish golfer Catriona Matthew who, in addition to having the opportunity to experience a major within a short drive from home, will go down in history as the first woman to play at Muirfield in a Women’s Open.

“It’s a great honor when you’re asked to do something like this,” Matthew, Open champion at Royal Lytham in 2009, he told reporters Tuesday.

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

“This just elevates this championship and now we’re going to go to courses where people are used to seeing The Open and the majors. I think it’s good for us.”

Matthew holds the trophy aloft after his Open win at the Royal Lytham St Annes Golf Club, England in 2009.

The 52-year-old admitted she was “disappointed” by the initial vote to keep the male-only membership, but she believes the overthrow showed progress is being made.

“You just have to look forward rather than looking back,” added Matthews. “Golf, starting with Scotland, maybe we had a lot more traditions, that we’re just gradually moving with the times.

“We hope that all the girls or boys who play golf can see both men and women playing on the same golf courses, which is good.”

Lioness lessons

Anna Nordqvist arrives in East Lothian as reigning Open Champion, having clinched a one-time win in Carnoustie last year. With her first major appearance as an amateur at the event in 2007, her triumph cemented a “special” bond between the three-time major winner Swede and the Open.

“I’ve heard a lot about Muirfield,” Nordqvist said. “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.

“Entering the gate, (I) saw my picture – it’s the first picture you see – obviously it’s still quite surreal to have my name on the trophy,” he added.

Nordqvist poses with the Open trophy after his victory at Carnoustie in Scotland, 2021.
A historic Open at Muirfield marks the continuation of a pivotal week for women’s sport, following the first ever victory of the English Football Lionesses International Championship on On Sunday, watched by a record crowd for the Euro final at Wembley Stadium.

Despite the pain of seeing Sweden beaten 4-0 in the semifinals by future champions, Nordqvist sees parallels in the increased coverage of women’s football and golf.

“It’s just thrilling to see that I think women’s sport (all) around the world it is getting more attention, “he said.

“It was a pretty big event, the way they hosted it and the TV schedules, I think it’s very important. Our tee times are improving too. Many times, we go pot early because (of) … the children’s program “.

‘reloaded’

While Nordqvist starts off as defending champion, Brooke Henderson starts off as arguably the fit player.

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

After retiring from the Scottish Open, won by Japanese Ayaka Furue on Sunday, Henderson is “reloaded” and can’t wait to leave.

Brooke Henderson in the center celebrates after winning the Evian Championship.

“Playing this year really means a lot to us all,” he said. “It is just proof that the women’s game continues to grow: the size of the bags is increasing, we are more on the TV network and we are playing in these better places.

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

After a three-month hiatus that began in March due to a blood clot, World No. 3 Nelly Korda is savoring every second of her return on tour, especially ahead of a historic major.
A fan picks up Nelly Korda's ball while it is still in play at the women's golf tournament

“I was extremely excited to go out and play at this event this year,” he said.

“I knew the story and also the fact that we were going to be the first women’s tournament here was pretty amazing.

“So I was just more excited to really be here and to be able to play on this golf course and absorb it all, as well as the history of this place.”

Catriona Matthew will leave first her group along with Sophia Schubert and Louise Duncan at 6:30 am local time (1:30 am ET) on Thursdays.