Muirfield wants new ballot on female members

Phil Mickelson won the Open when it was staged at Muirfield in 2013
Phil Mickelson won the Open when it was staged at Muirfield in 2013

Muirfield has announced it wants to hold a fresh ballot to decide whether to admit female members.

The Scottish venue opted against lifting its ban on women in May and was told it would not stage another Open Championship as a result.

The decision also provoked a storm of criticism, with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon calling the club's stance "simply indefensible".

Muirfield hopes the new vote will take place by the end of the year.

The club needed a two thirds majority to amend its rules on admission when it held its initial ballot on 19 May.

However, only 64% voted in favour of allowing women members, which meant that no changes could be implemented.

Club captain Henry Fairweather said the outcome had "damaged" the reputation of Muirfield and needed to be overturned.

He said "a clear and decisive vote in favour of admitting women as members is required to enable us to begin the task of restoring the reputation of the club".

Muirfield last hosted the Open in 2013 but was told it would never stage the competition again by the R&A, which jointly governs world golf with the United States Golf Association, unless it altered its stance.

Following Monday's announcement, the R&A said: "We welcome this development."