ROYAL Troon will make Open Championship history next year by hosting the event together with the neighbouring Troon Ladies’ Golf Club.
It will be the first time in 155 years that such a set up will be in place for the world’s oldest major and looks certain to lead to Royal Troon bringing down its men-only barriers.
In a double announcement, the club also revealed plans to carry out a review of its membership policy, the likely outcome of which will be that it follows the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in opening its doors to women members for the first time.
“Royal Troon Golf Club has hosted The Open on eight occasions since 1923 and in 2016 we will share this responsibility with The Ladies’ Golf Club, Troon as joint hosts of the 145th Open Championship,” said club captain Bob Martin.
“The clubs enjoy a close working relationship and we look forward to hosting a successful Open here in 2016.”
Members of the two clubs have formed a joint- Championship Committee that will work with the R&A both in the build up to the event and during the week of The Open.
“Both clubs take immense pride in the Old Course at Troon and we are delighted to share the honour of hosting The Open and the joint responsibility for delivering the event,” said Troon Ladies’ captain Sara-Ann Bottomley.
In the wake of the R&A voting to accept female members for the first time in its 260-year history, it was inevitable that pressure would increase on the three men-only club on the Open rota - Muirfield, Royal Troon and Royal St George’s - to review their membership policies.
Muirfield, which came under strong criticism from some quarters during the 2013 Open, had already announced last March that such a view was being undertaken and now Royal Troon is doing likewise.
According to the club, the recommendations from it will be “presented to the membership for their consideration” and, especially on the back of the R&A vote, that will surely lead to women members being admitted there, too.
No timescale has been specified but the decision to have a co-hosting arrangement with Troon Ladies is a sign that things are moving in the right direction even if it didn’t happen before next year’s Open.
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