R&A chief Dawson defends club after sexism row

Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:55am EDT
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By Martyn Herman

HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - Chief executive Peter Dawson jumped to the defense of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club on Wednesday after the bastion of male exclusivity came under fire from the female principal of St Andrews University.

The famous club in St Andrews, regarded as the home of golf, will host the British Open next year by which time its men-only membership policy may well have been scrapped.

University principal Louise Richardson, a keen golfer, has not been offered honorary membership of the club, a privilege enjoyed by many of her male predecessors, and to compound her angst she is quoted as saying she has been mocked by members who sarcastically waved their club ties towards her.

Dawson, however, said the R&A and the university enjoyed a good relationship.

“I did read those comments,” Dawson told reporters at a news conference on the eve of the Open at Royal Liverpool, a club which welcomes women members, on Wednesday.

“To be honest, we just don't recognize those remarks as 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. We've been very supportive of its fundraising efforts. In fact, it's 600th anniversary fundraising just finished, and we contributed 500,000 pounds to it, a not inconsiderable sum in support of St. Andrews University.

"Really that's all I have to say on this.”   Continued...

Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of the R&A speaks during a news conference ahead of the British Open golf championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes, northern England July 18, 2012.    REUTERS/Eddie Keogh