GULLANE, Scotland — Pragmatic yet defiant, the head of the Royal & Ancient issued a salvo in the latest battleground over male-only golf clubs: The British Open will not yield to pressure over three of its clubs refusing to admit female members.
Peter Dawson, the R&A chief executive, responded to questions Wednesday about the no-women-allowed membership at Muirfield, Troon and Royal St. George's, saying comparing this to racial or religious discrimination is "absurd."
He believes single-sex golf clubs do little harm to the game. "There's a massive difference between racial discrimination, anti-Semitism, where sectors of society are downtrodden and treated very, very badly indeed," he said. "And to compare that with a men's golf club, I think, is frankly absurd."
He later added: "It's just kind of, for some people, a way of life that they rather like. I don't think in doing that they're intending to (bring) others down or intending to do others any harm."
Linkin up: Golfers prepared over the last week for today's Open at Muirfield by playing links courses such as Turnberry, Royal Troon and Western Gailes, to name a few. "You can prepare for the U.S. Open on the range," Geoff Ogilvy said. "… The seaside courses here, they're the only courses with turf like this, with sand like this. There's something different about the seaside wind in Scotland."
Better now: Adam Scott, who bogeyed his last four holes to let slip a four-shot lead at Lytham last year's Open, said the most inspirational words afterward came from Tom Watson. At the Australian Open in December, "He said that he let one slip early in his career, and he said he would never let that happen again," Scott recalled. "He would just be tough and want it so badly, and sometimes maybe that has to happen for you to realize that. …
"And somehow that turned into me taking Lytham as a positive, and just pushing me harder to try to get across the line to win a major."
Scott won the Masters in April in a playoff.