R&A merges with Ladies' Golf Union

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R&A clubhouse on the Old Course at St. Andrews. (Getty Images)

The R&A announced Monday that it will merge with the Ladies' Golf Union (LGU) following "an extensive consultation exercise." The announcement was made by R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers, and according to a media release, the merger is expected to be completed "in the coming months."

Founded in 1893, the LGU oversees ladies' amateur golf in Great Britain and Ireland in addition to a series of championships that includes the Ricoh Women's British Open.

"The LGU and R&A have a wealth of experience in running successful championships and we have a shared focus on supporting the development of golf," Slumbers said in a statement. "The merger will enable us to capitalize on the strengths of the two organizations for the wider benefit of the sport, including the development of golf for women and girls. This is a historic move and an important step forward for golf on these islands."

According to the announcement, discussion of a possible merger first began in February 2015. Since then, the plan has received unanimous support from both boards and the LGU's shareholders, including England Golf, Scottish Golf, the Golf Union of Wales and the Irish Ladies' Golf Union.

"Funded by the lady golfers of Great Britain and Ireland, the LGU has positioned golf as a game for all women and girls. My gratitude is due to our shareholders for their foresight and support in this move," said LGU chairman Trish Wilson. "Building on the strong relationship it already enjoys with the R&A, the LGU looks forward to realizing the potential of this merger."