''You can always ask that question: 'Why now? Why not 10 years ago?' The R&A have been considering this. It's been on our agenda, on our radar, for quite some time, The feeling is as society changes, as sport changes, as golf changes, it's something the R&A needs to do, and is doing now as being forward-looking as we can.''
Peter Dawson, Secretary of The Royal Ancient Golf Club
"I am very pleased indeed to announce that the membership of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has voted overwhelmingly in favour of welcoming women members.
More than three quarters of the club’s global membership took part in the ballot, with a decisive 85% voting for women to become members.
This vote has immediate effect and I can confirm that The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is now a mixed membership club.
The membership has also acted to fast-track a significant initial number of women to become members in the coming months.
This is a very important and positive day in the history of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. The R&A has served the sport of golf well for 260 years and I am confident that the club will continue to do so in future with the support of all its members, both women and men."
The R&A, founded in 1754, had a policy that barred women from joining for 260 years. Last September, its members voted in favour of women joining the club. Helen Grant, British sports minister: ''This is welcome news from the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, and I urge its members to follow their committees' recommendations and vote 'yes' for women members. It would mark a step in the right direction for the sport and I would hope encourage the remaining golf clubs that still have anachronistic single-sex member policies to follow suit.'' (via)
"It would be much better if she and her ilk stayed at home, got themselves prettied up and waited for the phone to ring."
Joe Williams, sportswriter for New York World-Telegram, 1948
Mildred Ella "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias (1911-1956), the "World's Greatest Woman Athlete" started by playing basketball where she gained world fame, was an expert diver, roller-skater, and bowler, entered three events in the Olympics in 1932 and won all of them (Javelin Throw, 80 Meter Hurdles, High Jump) and set four world records in a single afternoon. In fact, her "performances were enough to win the team championship, despite her being the sole member of the team". She started playing golf as a latecomer, won 82 golf tournaments and became the United States' first female golf celebrity. In 1948, she became the first woman trying to qualify for the U.S. Open. Her application, however, was rejected by the United States Golf Association since the event was "intended to be open to men only".
Didrikson Zaharias certainly did not fit "the traditional ideals of femininity" (via and via). Women's sports and female athletes developing "mannish bodies" represented the opposite to femininity. Sports, in general, was unladylike behaviour. Nevertheless, Didrikson Zaharias became a phenomenon, "a sports hero in a century when sports heroes were nearly always male" (Cayleff, 1996).
- Cayleff, S. (1996) Babe. the Life and Legend of Babe Didrikson Zaharias. University of Illinois Press
- photographs ob Babe Didrikson Zaharias via and via and via and via