Augusta protestor Martha Burk: Open snub will prompt U-turn from Muirfield

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Martha Burk, a key figure in Augusta National opening to women in 2012, believes the R&A's decision to bar Muirfield from hosting the Open Championship will prompt a swift U-turn from the Scottish club's members.

A vote on accepting women members narrowly failed to achieve the two-thirds majority required on Thursday, leading the R&A to announce Muirfield will no longer be considered to host the game's oldest major championship.

Burk believes that had the American governing body taken a similar stance to the R&A then Augusta would have opened much sooner than four years ago, and reckons it will not be long until Muirfield has a rethink.

"I think the most significant thing about what's happened is the R&A's decision to not let them host the Open," she said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

"If we had had that here in the United States - our ruling body of golf, the Professional Golfers' Association - had they taken the tournament away from Augusta National and said 'you cannot host the tournament as long as you don't open to women', and black men, as a matter of fact - a nd they had done that with every club on the Tour - but they made an exception with Augusta National and let them continue to host one of the tour events.

"Had they done what the R&A has done now, I think Augusta would have opened much sooner."

She continued: "I don't know how your clubs work over there, but my guess is Muirfield will have another vote in a reasonable period of time and it will be successful because they aren't going to want to lose the British Open."

Burk, and others who battled for a decade to get women admitted, brought two lawsuits for sex discrimination at work against companies whose chief executives were members at Augusta National, collecting 80million US dollars (?55m) on behalf of the women who worked at those companies.

"It took 10 years and the lawsuits did not get near the publicity that the original protests, which were not successful in opening the club, got," she said.

"So many of the people in the United States did not know until the (Augusta National) club opened why they opened. They thought it had gone away. But it was actually working its way through the courts for 10 years."

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