THE Professional Golfers’ Association has opened the door for women to compete against men in its national championships.
The Belfry-based organisation’s 10 per cent rule, a law created 25 years ago to encourage more women members to play on equal terms in its Pro-Am events, has now been amended to apply to all members’ tournaments and championships.
As from 1 April, tournament directors will be allowed to shorten a course by up to 10 per cent, taking into account the length and severity of the layout so that, irrespective of gender, all competitors will have an equal competitive challenge.
“Hopefully the decision will encourage more women members to compete by setting the golf course up in a way that gives them a chance to play on a level playing field,” said Sandy Jones, PGA chief executive.
“The move simply recognises there is inequality in terms of physical strength and this rule allows all members to enjoy playing competitive golf with their fellow PGA professionals.
“We are not suggesting this should be applied to elite tours, it’s just a decision for our members.”
Hugh Malcolm, the Scottish PGA tournament director, added: “If a female member wants to enter our national championship, then she can.
“She would have to qualify for the event, as no woman has played in it before, but this opens the door for the opportunity to do that.”