Muirfield hosts the Women’s Open Championship for the first time, five years after women were first allowed to compete.

It was a long wait that seemed to last into May 2016 when members of a private club – The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers – voted against by abolishing its male-only membership policy. Founded in 1744 at Leith in Edinburgh, the club moved to East Lothian in 1891.
The result of this vote has been marked “obscene” four-time Grand Champion Rory McIlroy and “unjustified” First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, as well as Royal and Ancient (R&A) – the organizers of the Open – immediately prohibited course from hosting major.
However, Muirfield was reinstated as an open ground the following March after the club was declared new. 80.2% voted for or admitting female members, achieving the two-thirds majority needed to cancel the 2016 vote.

Five years later, the course opens its doors for the fifth and final major of the women’s season, much to the delight of the participants.

This is a family affair of two-time world champion Brooke Henderson.

It will be a special thrill for Scottish golfer Catriona Mathew, who will not only have the opportunity to play a major tournament just minutes away from home, but will also go down in history as the first woman to tee off at Muirfield at the Women’s Open.

“It’s a huge honor to be asked to do something like this.” — Matthew, Open The 2009 Royal Lytham champion, told reporters on Tuesday.

“I think it will be a great experience… all the players have watched the men play here for years and I think they are excited to be able to come here and play their own Open.

“This only raises the level of this championship, and now we are going to courses where people are used to seeing The Open and majors. I think it’s good for us.”

Matthew holding the trophy after his victory at the Royal Lytham St Annes Open Golf Club, England in 2009.

The 52-year-old admitted she was “disappointed” with the initial vote to keep the male-only membership, but believes the cancellation has shown progress.

“You just have to look ahead, not look back,” Matthews added. “Golf, starting in Scotland, perhaps we had a lot more traditions, we just gradually keep up with the times.

“Hopefully all girls and boys who play golf can see men and women playing on the same golf courses, which is a good thing.”

Lioness Lessons

Anna Nordqvist arrives in East Lothian as the reigning Open champion with a one-stroke win at Carnoustie last year. With her first major appearance at the event as an amateur in 2007, the triumph solidified the “special” bond between three major tournament winners Sweden and the Open.

“I’ve heard a lot about Muirfield,” Nordquist said. “I know the guys have been playing here for many years, so I think this is a great opportunity for us to add Muirfield to our open rotation.

“Walking through the gate, (I) saw my photo – this is the first photo you see – obviously it still seems pretty surreal to have my name on a trophy,” she added.

Nordqvist poses with the Open trophy after winning at Carnoustie in Scotland, 2021.
The historic Open at Muirfield marks the continuation of a momentous week for women’s sports following the Lionesses in English football. the first ever victory in the international championship on the On Sunday, Wembley Stadium gathered a record number of spectators for the Euro final.

Despite the pain of Sweden losing 4-0 to the eventual champions in the semi-finals, Nordqvist sees parallels in the greater coverage of women’s football and golf.

“It’s just nice to see that I think women’s sports (everything) attracting more and more attention around the world,” she said.

“It was a pretty big event, the way they staged it and the time spent on TV, I think that’s very important. Our game time is also improving. Many times we start early because of (because of)… guys schedule.


While Nordqvist starts as the defending champion, Brooke Henderson starts perhaps as a fit player.

With her second big win at the Evian Championships in July, the Canadian took two Tour victories in just over a month. The 24-year-old athlete has finished no lower than 16th in any of the previous five tournaments.

After pulling out of the Scottish Open, which Japan’s Ayaka Furue won on Sunday, Henderson has “recharged” and is racing ahead.

Brooke Henderson (center) celebrates winning the Evian Championship.

“Playing this year really means a lot to all of us,” she said. “It’s just proof that the women’s game continues to grow – wallets are getting bigger, we’re appearing more on network TV and we’re playing these top venues.

“It’s just a really fun time to be a part of women’s golf because it’s growing so fast and we feel like we’re making a difference for generations to come.”

After a three-month hiatus that began in March, due to a thrombusWorld No. 3 Nelly Korda is enjoying every second of the Tour, especially before the big Major.
A fan picks up Nelli Korda's ball while it's still in play at a women's golf tournament.

“I was very excited to go out and play at this event this year,” she said.

“I knew the history and the fact that we were going to be the first women’s tournament here was pretty amazing.

“So I was just more excited to actually be here and play this golf course and soak it all up and also the history of this place.”

Catriona Matthew getting ready for the first start her group along with Sophia Schubert and Louise Duncan at 6:30 AM local time (01:30 AM ET) on Thursday.