Ex-Prime Minister calls on R&A to admit women

Old Course at St. Andrews
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Could change be on the way at St. Andrews and other men-only golf clubs?

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Saturday, August 25, 2012 | 12:20 a.m.

With Augusta National having admitted its first female members earlier this week, all eyes have turned to The R&A. On Friday, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown ramped up the pressure.

"If the golf club in Augusta can admit women, then shouldn't St. Andrews? If they can do it in South Carolina, can we not do it in Scotland?" Brown asked during the Scottish Parliament Festival of Politics in Edinburgh, according to a report in The Guardian newspaper.

"I think we have to think hard and long about issues of discrimination in our own country," the paper quoted Brown as saying, as he discussed the role Scottish political and trade union leaders play in championing social justice across Great Britain.

Brown, who served as prime minister from 2007 to 2010, also said The R&A’s men-only policy was indefensible in the wake of Augusta National’s move.

In 2009, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond criticized The R&A for what the Guardian said was ignoring its tradition of inviting the principals of St. Andrew's University to become members when Louise Richardson took the post. And soon after the news from Augusta National came out, Scottish Sports Minister Shona Robison urged The R&A and the all-male Muirfield Golf Club, which will host the 2013 British Open, to follow suit.

The R&A has not responded to all these remarks, but said in a statement that its rules specify a male membership and its members would determine any change in policy.