The previously all-male Muirfield is to host the Women's Open

Muirfield, home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, only admitted women members in March 2017Muirfield, home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, only admitted women members in March 2017
Muirfield, home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, only admitted women members in March 2017
An historic first visit to the East Lothian venue for R&A major

Muirfield, one of the last bastions of men-only golf clubs until opening its doors to women members just over three years ago, is to stage the AIG Women's Open in 2022.

The historic occasion at the East Lothian venue was announced today by R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers as he unveiled a "fantastic five-year run" for the women's major.

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That will start next year at Carnoustie, with the event at Muirfield then being followed by visits to Walton Heath (2023), St Andrews (2024) and Royal Porthcawl (2025).

Royal Porthcawl had been due to hold the tournament for the first time next year but has now been moved to the end of the newly-announced schedule.

Speaking on the eve of this year's historic first staging at Royal Troon, Slumbers said of the Muirfield date being set: "It's a huge statement of their commitment to the game and their commitment to the women's game.

"But the whole five years is intended to be a huge statement of intent about how we want to provide the platform for the best women golfers to play on some of the best golf courses that we can offer in GB&I.

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"It's a five-year run that really should whet the appetite of every great golf lover."

He added: "I think the world has changed quite a lot in the last five years. The game of golf has changed quite a lot in the last five years.

"I think there is a lot more discussion and energy and commitment about the game more modern and relevant to today's society, and we couldn't have a more enthusiastic partner in the Honourable Company in wanting to change this championship.

"I think it will be a fantastic place for the women golfers to go and play. I'm pretty exciting already and I think Muirfield will really embrace it and give us a fantastic championship."

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The result of a first postal ballot to admit women members at Muirfield, home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, fell 14 votes short of what was required, sparking outrage from then Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

That also led to Muirfield being removed from the R&A's rota for The Open, with Slumbers saying it would not be considered for events until the membership policy changed.

It was second-time lucky in March 2017 as 498 (80.2%) members voting in favour of admitting women members, with 123 votes (19.8%) against.

Last held there in 2013, when Phil Mickelson claimed the Claret Jug, Muirfield is still waiting to find out when The Open will be returning.

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However, the news about a first AIG Women's Open heading there was welcomed by club captain Alistair Campbell.

He said: “The Honourable Company relishes the prospect of hosting the AIG Women’s Open in 2022.

"I know our members and many others will be enthusiastic in welcoming the world’s best women golfers as they tackle our famous championship links.”

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