McIlroy backs decision to drop Muirfield as Open venue


World number three Rory McIlroy insisted R&A made the right decision not to consider Muirfield as a venue for The Open after the club voted in favour of preventing women from becoming members.

Muirfield caused uproar after members of the East Lothian club voted against allowing women to join, leading to the R&A dropping the Scottish venue as a potential host of the major.

Members are reported to have opted against changing their rules over female membership by a vote of two to one.

Four-time major champion McIlroy said Muirfield - a 16-time host of The Open - will not be missed until the club changes its stance on women.

"They [Muirfield] can do what they want but, in this day and age, it's not right to host the world's biggest tournament at a place that does not allow women to become members," McIlroy said at the Irish Open, where he is two shots behind leader Danny Willett after Thursday's opening round.

"Hopefully they can see some sense and we can get it back there one day.

"The R&A did the right thing. It's 2016 and we have to move with the times. It's taken long enough.

"Bigger picture, it's a great golf course, but there's so many other great golf courses that we play on the Open rota that we're not going to miss one. I think it's more their loss than it is the R&A's or our loss.

"If that's what they want to do, obviously it's a free world and they can do that, but they must have known that it was going to cause this sort of controversy."