Sport Golf

Saturday 24 March 2018

'If women want to play in Muirfield, they should marry a member' - Peter Alliss weighs in on debate

Peter Alliss
Peter Alliss

Golf commentator Peter Alliss has suggested women who want to play at Muirfield should marry a member.

The 85-year-old former Ryder Cup player was reacting to a vote on accepting women into the club, that narrowly failed to achieve the two-thirds majority required to bring about change.

Muirfield has staged the Open Championship 16 times, most recently in 2013, but it has been taken off the Open rota as a result of women being denied permission to join.

Alliss, one of the most distinctive voices in golf, told BBC Radio Five Live: "The women who are there as wives of husbands, they get all the facilities.

"If somebody wants to join, well you'd better get married to somebody who's a member.

"I believe clubs were formed years ago by people of like spirit: doctors, lawyers, accountants, bakers, butchers, whatever they like.

"And they joined in like spirit to talk amongst them and to do whatever. I want to join the WVS (Women's Voluntary Service) but unless I have a few bits and pieces nipped away on my body I'm not going to be able to get in."

Alliss said: "It's a very emotive subject. I don't think all the true facts have come out.

"I was at the Open Championship two or three years ago and I used to go in for a coffee every morning. There's a very nice drawing room in the clubhouse at Muirfield and it was full of ladies who were all chatting - 'Hello, Peter how are you doing?' - and me in my usual, jocular, quiet way suggested, 'What great times are coming, you'll be able to join the club'.

"And there was a look of horror on the faces of the ladies, ladies whose husbands were members, and I was met with 'Good Lord, no we don't want to be members. If we joined, our husbands would have to pay thousands of pounds for our entry fee and our subscriptions. We can come and play and do pretty much what we wish for nothing'."

Alliss suggested a single woman might have to wait eight to 10 years in a queue for membership, were they allowed to join, and face paying thousands of pounds for "maybe 20 games of golf a year".

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