Golf venue for 2020 Games to vote on female bar

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 02, 2017 9:19 PM

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Kasumigaseki Country Club, which will host the golf tournaments at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, will hold a board meeting next week to consider ending its ban on women becoming full members, according to local media.

The vote comes after calls to shift the tournament from the private club in Saitama province because of the rule, which allows women to play Monday through Saturday but bars them from becoming full members and from playing on Sundays.

Tokyo Olympic organizing committee chief Toshiro Muto sent a letter to the club on Thursday appealing for it to reconsider the policy, Kyodo news agency reported.

The missive was sent on behalf of organizers, the Japanese Olympic Committee, the International Golf Federation and the Japan Golf Association.

"All four of these bodies are gravely concerned," Muto said. "We want them to change their rules to allow women as regular members as soon as possible."

The 15-member club board will meet next Tuesday with a unanimous vote required to change the relevant bylaws, the report said.

Both men's and women's tournaments will be held at the club in 2020, following the return of the sport to the Summer Games at last year's Rio Olympics.

Two of the most famous golf clubs in the world have changed their policies to allow female members in recent years.

In 2014, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews decided to allow women to join after 260 years of exclusion, and Augusta National, home of the U.S. Masters, ended its men-only membership in 2012.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Peter Rutherford)