If somebody wants to join, marry a member - Alliss on Muirfield controversy


Golf commentator Peter Alliss has voiced his support for Muirfield's controversial policy regarding the refusal of female members.

On Thursday, the East Lothian club took a vote on the subject, with a reported outcome of two to one in favour of not allowing women to join.

The result means Muirfield has been stripped of hosting rights for The Open - a move backed by world number three Rory McIlroy - but Alliss believes the club is right to remain firm in its stance.

"The women who are there as wives of husbands, they get all the facilities. If somebody wants to join, well you'd better get married to somebody who's a member," the 85-year-old told BBC Radio 5Live.

"I believe clubs were formed years ago by people of like spirit: doctors, lawyers, accountants, bakers, butchers, whatever they like. And they joined in like spirit to talk amongst them and to do whatever.

"I want to join the WVS [Women's Voluntary Service] but unless I have a few bits and pieces nipped away on my body I'm not going to be able to get in.

"It's a very emotive subject. I don't think all the true facts have come out. I was at the Open Championship two or three years ago and I used to go in for a coffee every morning.

"There's a very nice drawing room in the clubhouse at Muirfield and it was full of ladies who were all chatting - 'Hello, Peter how are you doing?' - and me in my usual, jocular, quiet way suggested, 'What great times are coming, you'll be able to join the club'.

"And there was a look of horror on the faces of the ladies, ladies whose husbands were members, and I was met with 'Good Lord, no we don't want to be members. If we joined, our husbands would have to pay thousands of pounds for our entry fee and our subscriptions. We can come and play and do pretty much what we wish for nothing'."