IRVING, Texas – Reaction to news on Thursday that the membership at Muirfield Golf Club did not approve a proposal that would have allowed female members, which was followed by an announcement by the R&A that the iconic course would be pulled from the Open rotation, was met with mixed emotions by players at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
“It's unfortunate that Muirfield won't be on the Open rotation probably until they have a woman member,” said Ernie Els, who won the 2002 Open at Muirfield. “It will be quite a blow for the Open rotation not to have Muirfield on the schedule.”
Sergio Garcia, who won the 1998 British Amateur at Muirfield, was similarly torn by Thursday’s news.
“It is sad because I love that golf course,” Garcia said. “It's one of the best links courses we play but it is their decision. Obviously I can understand it and it's unfortunate but it is what it is.”
Still, Els seemed to suggest it was the right move by the R&A to remove Muirfield from the Open rotation until the club makes a change to its membership policy.
“They have the right for their own rules and the Open Championship is going with a sign of the times,” Els said. “I can't say they're wrong and we're right. I'd love to play there as a competitor, I'd love to play the tournament at the golf course because it's one of the best links courses in the world but we're in a situation and it will be missed.”