Written under the nom de plume, M.L. Gneier
For those of you who were beginning to think that all I do is bash the USGA, let me take a few shots at the R&A. Oh sure, St. Andrew's is the home of golf and all that. I get it. Still, the R&A has two basic problems: It is largely the USGA's lap dog when it comes to rules and equipment issues. But, the R&A's greater failing is that it is still very much an old boy's club.
It is true that the R&A has seen fit to take down their No Dogs or Women sign for the week of the British Open. They've also opened the entire clubhouse to the women, including the locker room. Is this a substantive step in the right direction or a move that's simply good for the public face of the R&A?
I admit to having a tough time taking cues from the Brits when it comes to this kind of thing. This is the same country that thinks the best way to soothe racist soccer hooligans is by giving them free tickets and hoping they don't attack other fans or burn the stadium to the ground.
Let there be no doubt that Great Britain's is still a golf establishment that is separate and not especially equal. I'm sure that I'm not alone in finding it cheesey that the Women's British Open needs a title sponsor: Can you imagine there being a Royal Bank of Scotland Open Championship? Not likely, but it's no problem for the women to be stuck with the Ricoh Women's British Open.
On Sunday evening, after the winner of the Ricoh is crowned, the doors on the St. Andrews clubhouse will slam shut on the women again. The R&A should move to consolidate its mission with the Ladies' Golf Union because separate is never equal.