Tokyo 2020 golf venue votes to admit women members

The Royal and Ancient (R&A), who organise The Open Championship, had axed Muirfield from their list of venues after members at the club chose to uphold their rules on not allowing women to join.

Yuriko Koike urged the private country club on January 13 to let women play golf on any day of the week after women had only been allowed to golf Monday through Saturday if they were accompanied by a male member.

The Kasumigaseki country club, north-west of Tokyo, was threatened with the loss of its status as a 2020 Olympics venue if it failed to grant women full membership rights.

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori has welcomed the change of rules in a statement released today, but does not refer specifically to the acceptance of full female memberships.

"I also would like to express my admiration for the club's endeavour to come to an agreement in such a short period of time". The membership policy came under scrutiny when Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike urged it to admit women as full members.

Kasumigaseki club chairman Kiichi Kimura described the controversy as "annoying" last month.

The IOC president, Thomas Bach, said last week that organisers were prepared to find another location "should gender equality not be respected". The club didn't reject women entirely before Monday's vote. There is not a lot of honor in inadvertently changing course, but maybe this will shine a light on this issue in the future for other golf clubs around the world.

The exclusion of women prompted the R&A to remove the course in East Lothian from the list of courses allowed to host the Open Championship. The proposal never got far, with the exclusion of women as members essentially killing the idea with the IOC.

In 2014, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews chose to allow women to join following 260 years of exclusion, after Augusta National, home of the U.S. Masters, had ended its men-only membership two years earlier.

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