Hall of Famer Karrie Webb told The Telegraph that she doesn’t have a problem with a private club choosing who it allows to be members, but she does have a problem when that club decides to host “a very public golf event.”
The Old Course at St. Andrews will host the Ricoh Women's British Open for the second time next week.
While St. Andrews is publicly owned and open to women to play, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews’ membership is completely male. The club has been a separate entity from the R&A governing body for nearly a decade. Still, the R&A, which runs the British Open, has faced tough questions with three clubs in its rotation having all-male membership policies. Muirfield, host to the Open two weeks ago, is one of those.
“If you are going to hold a public event, take money from the public and from public companies, it is pretty hard to say that only a certain kind of person is allowed to be a member,” Webb told The Telegraph. “I would have no problem with Muirfield saying: ‘We are a great links course and a private men’s club,’ and just never holding the Open Championship there.”
Webb won the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters on Sunday and will be one of the favorites at the Women’s British Open next week.
Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, the highest ranked European woman in the world at No. 3, was asked her stance on all-male memberships by The Observer.
“I don't take any personal interest in it,” she said in Sunday's editions. “Golf was established way back in the day, when society was different than it is now. Back then you didn't have as many women leaders or in top positions in society as you do now. Time changes.”