With Open arms: Players happy Muirfield back in rota

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ORLANDO, Fla. – The voting results from the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers were met with collective approval from several players at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

A second vote at Muirfield on allowing female members for the first time in the club’s history passed Tuesday, with 80.2 percent of members in favor. The measure, which required a two-thirds’ majority to pass, received only 64 percent approval during the initial vote in May.

The results meant that Muirfield was quickly re-introduced to the rota for The Open Championship by the R&A, an event the club has hosted 16 times.

“Muirfield is one of my absolute favorite, if not my favorite Open venue,” said reigning Open champ Henrik Stenson. “That’s great news to be able to come back to Muirfield at some point.”

Stewart Cink lifted the claret jug at Turnberry in 2009, but he smiled at the news that Muirfield is again in line to host golf’s oldest major.

“Makes my heart sing,” said Cink, who finished T-26 at Muirfield in 2013. “I’m so glad, because I love Muirfield. And even more than I love Muirfield, I just love that there’s no exclusionary policy there. That’s not the way I choose to live life, and I like it when other people come to my side.”

Like Stenson, Cink ranks the Scottish links high on his list of favorite Open venues, putting it ahead of the site of his Open triumph and behind only the Old Course at St. Andrews.

“I think probably Muirfield is the best course,” he said. “It’s the most challenging, but also the fairest, and just overall best as far as variety – other than St. Andrews.”