Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, has dropped a huge hint that Muirfield will return to the Open rota should it vote in favour of admitting women members.
Results of a second postal ballot are expected to be announced in the middle of next month, with the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers captain and committee urging members to say ‘Yes’ this time around.
And, in a possible attempt to dangle the carrot even further for members of the East Lothian club, Slumbers (below) said a decision would be made ‘very quickly’ regarding its status of hosting future championships.
“I’m very pleased that they are having a second vote,” Slumbers told Golf Digest. “Muirfield is a wonderful course and it is a great Open venue. We will make an announcement very quickly after the result of the vote is known.
“We believe that golf should be open to all, regardless of gender, skin colour, religion or nationality.
“This is, however, a matter for the club and is really none of my business. So I don’t want to pre-judge the result. But the more the game looks at encouraging families and younger people the better.”
Should members vote ‘Yes’ next month and Muirfield is reinstated to The Open rota, the earliest it is likely to host the event is 2022.
Yesterday, it was announced that Royal St George’s would host The Open for a 15th time in 2020 and, while nothing was confirmed, it is widely expected that the 2021 Open will head to St Andrews to mark the 150th staging of the event.
Muirfield last host The Open in 2013, where Phil Mickelson (above) claimed his fifth major title and what is still his most recent professional win.