An Open invitation to make a point

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HAVING previously considered First Minister Alex Salmond to be the country’s most astute politician, I’m astonished by the clumsy ineptitude of his gesture politics in refusing to attend the coming Open Championship at Muirfield (your report, 28 June).

This is an outstanding opportunity for him to promote both himself and Scotland – normally two of his favourite activities – to the whole world. That might validly be seen as a relevant duty for our First Minister.

The Muirfield club’s principle of men-only membership would be reasonable grounds for not applying to join, play as a guest or be a spectator at a club event.

However, this is not a Muirfield function: the course is only the venue for a major international competition featuring the world’s finest competitors; the greatest event in golf. It will have TV coverage throughout the globe; an outstanding opportunity to showcase Scotland. Yet, we’re expected to be impressed by Salmond’s decision to attend a lesser event, the Scottish Open, at which last year he apparently secured “hundreds of jobs” for the Highlands. Peculiar priority!

Possibly Mr Salmond would disapprove of the enthusiastic women – some of them golfers themselves – who will attend the championship, but the very fact that they are welcome to do so serves to emphasise the foolishness of his decision.

I find his attitude almost comically small-minded.

Robert Dow

Ormiston Road

Tranent

I am not a great fan of Alex Salmond and I am not a golfer but I strongly support his decision not to attend the Open Golf Championship at Muirfield.

I think the failure of Muirfield and the Royal and Ancient golf clubs to accept women as members is absolutely deplorable and it is high time these golf clubs realised that their refusal to accept women as members is totally unacceptable in the 21st century.

Hugh M Mackenzie

Bonnethill Road

Pitlochry