Martin Dempster: Private club Muirfield have a public duty

Hampden '“ the events after the final whistle anyway '“ may have taken the heat off the Honourable Company of Golfers for the time being, but let's not allow last week's 'no' to women members be swept under the carpet and forgotten about. Henry Fairweather, the East Lothian club's captain, and his committee deserve all the support that can possibly be mustered from outwith the boundaries of Muirfield to ensure the correct and proper decision is eventually delivered.

Captain of Muirfield Golf Club, Henry Fairweather. Picture: PA
Captain of Muirfield Golf Club, Henry Fairweather. Picture: PA

I wouldn’t have minded receiving a pound for every time I’ve heard the words “but it’s a private member’s club so they are entitled to do what they want” uttered over the past few days and that, of course, is true. But it’s a different story when you are talking ahout a club which stages an event of such magnitude and focus as the Open Championship. “It’s not like us to receive praise,” quipped one R&A member I spoke to at the weekend but fair play to that organisation by leaving the Honourable Company of Golfers
in no doubt at all what that “no” vote meant by taking Muirfield off the rota for the event.

The Muirfield membership has a duty to East Lothian as a whole to ensure that step is just temporary.