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Muirfield out of British Open rotation after vote to keep excluding women

Muirfield Golf Club, the site of 16 British Opens and the source of the written Rules of Golf, dating to 1744, was stripped of the right to host the British Open on Thursday after voting against allowing female members.

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which owns Muirfield, announced its decision to retain the club's male-only policy following a ballot of its members. A two-thirds majority was required for a change. Of the 616 members who voted, 36 percent were against allowing women.

Within minutes, the Royal and Ancient, which runs the British Open, said Muirfield was off the list of 10 courses that can host golf's oldest major championship.

Muirfield most recently staged the British Open in 2013, when Phil Mickelson won. Royal Troon, which hosts this year's tournament from July 14-17, is the only other club on the rotation to still exclude women.

The Scotsman newspaper reported that a group of 30 Muirfield members lobbied vigorously against the inclusion of female members, citing in a letter concerns about slow play and making women "feel uncomfortable."

Golfers backed the R &A's stance.

"Gone are the days where you can discriminate in a club," said two-time British Open champion Padraig Harrington.

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy said golf needs to boost its image against charges of sexism. "We are trying to break out of this stuffy, old image. We are trying to … make golf cooler, make more people included."

Catriona Matthew, the highest-ranked Scottish woman on the LPGA Tour at No. 71, lives a few miles from Muirfield. She said on Twitter, "Embarrassed to be a Scottish women golfer from East Lothian after that decision."

Mickelson to pay almost $1M in insider trading case

Phil Mickelson has agreed to forfeit nearly $1 million that authorities say was unfairly earned on a stock tip from a professional gambler, part of an insider trading investigation that resulted in two arrests but spared the golf pro from criminal charges.

The Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced an indictment against the gambler, William Walters, and a former corporate board member of Dean Foods Co., Thomas Davis, alleging that the pair used non-public information about the company to make tens of millions of dollars in illicit stock trades from 2008-12.

In 2012, the SEC says, Walters called Mickelson, who owed him money, and urged him to trade stock of the distributor of Land O Lakes butter and other dairy products. Mickelson made the trade the next day and reaped a profit of $931,000 that he used to help pay off the debt, the SEC says.

Mickelson was named as a "relief defendant" in the case, meaning he was only accused of profiting from the crimes of others and not forced to admit wrongdoing. Andrew Ceresney, head of the SEC's Enforcement Division, declined to give the rationale for not making him part of the criminal case, other than, "We bring charges based on the evidence and the law."

Mickelson's management group issued a statement saying he felt "vindicated" because he hadn't charged him with a crime. "He takes full responsibility for the decisions and associations that led him to becoming part of this investigation," it said.

LPGA: Mika Miyazato shot 6-under 65 to take the first-round lead in the Kingsmill Championship at Williamsburg, Va. Defending champion Minjee Lee and Seminole's Brittany Lincicome were a stroke back.

PGA: Jordan Spieth shot 6-under 64 and was within a stroke of the lead when the first round of the rain-delayed Byron Nelson was suspended because of darkness at Irving, Texas. Sergio Garcia, Danny Lee and Johnson Wagner shot 63.

Champions: Kenny Perry shot 8-under 64 for a two-stroke lead in the Regions Tradition, the first of five tour majors, at Birmingham, Ala. Bernhard Langer and Gene Sauers were second.

European: Masters champion Danny Willett shot 7-under 65 in the Irish Open to take a two-shot lead over Rory McIlroy at Straffan.

Muirfield out of British Open rotation after vote to keep excluding women 05/19/16 [Last modified: Thursday, May 19, 2016 10:44pm]
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