Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the R&A, has reacted with surprise to claims made by the principal of St Andrews University that members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club taunted her after she was denied membership of the all-male establishment.
Louise Richardson, who became the first female principal of St Andrews University in 2009, has been widely quoted in the media this week as claiming that some members of the club waved their ties at her when she was turned down for membership. That is a privilege typically afforded to principals of the university but Richardson’s gender precluded her.
She is quoted in the Daily Telegraph this week as saying: “Here’s St Andrews University, ranked third in the UK, we’re an organisation of 10,000 people, we support 9,000 jobs, I run this place very successfully and I’m not allowed in the clubhouse 600 yards from my house?”
"We’re very supportive of the university and have been very supportive of its fundraising efforts." - Peter Dawson
That could all change depending on the outcome of a vote on the club’s single-gender policy, the results of which are due to be revealed in September.
Asked about Richardson’s comments on the eve of the Open Championship, Dawson remarked: “To be honest, we just don’t recognise those remarks as being in any way accurately representing the relationship between the R&A and St Andrews University. We have an excellent relationship.
“We’re very supportive of the university and have been very supportive of its fundraising efforts. In fact, its 600th anniversary fundraising just finished and we contributed £500,000 to it – a not inconsiderable sum in support of St Andrews University and, really, that’s all I have to say on this.”
Asked if he was, therefore, calling Richardson’s truthfulness into question, Dawson added: “I don’t know what Louise actually said, and I assume the article was accurate in reflecting what she said. But I do feel that one or two things are not quite as portrayed."
Peter Dawson and the St Andrews University :: Your thoughts
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