R&A chief says be patient as Open return is mooted again

R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson a press conference during practice day four for the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield Golf Club, East Lothian. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 17, 2013. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. The Open Championship logo and prominent link to The Open website (www.TheOpen.com) to be included with published material. Call 44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson a press conference during practice day four for the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield Golf Club, East Lothian. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 17, 2013. See PA story GOLF Open. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. The Open Championship logo and prominent link to The Open website (www.TheOpen.com) to be included with published material. Call 44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.

The now obligatory question about Royal Portrush’s chances of hosting the Open was straight batted by R&A chief executive Peter Dawson last week.

Dawson insisted that the North Coast club was still being assessed. “We’re cracking on with the work. We’ve got another visit planned over there relatively soon,” he said.

“You’ll just have to be patient and wait to see what comes out of it, I’m afraid.”

Asked about the negative impact of recent rioting in Belfast he added; “We’re still at quite an early stage in the investigation.

“And obviously the political situation in any area, be it Northern Ireland or any other part of the country, is a factor. But it’s far too early to say much more than that, I think, at the moment.”

Speaking at the traditional pre-tournament media conference, Mr Dawson said he believed the issue of gender and single-sex clubs had been “beaten to death recently”. But he admitted the R&A was finding the subject “increasingly difficult”.

Mr Dawson stressed that single-sex clubs were “in a very small minority in the UK”, with half of them being women-only.

He added: “In our view they don’t do anyone any harm and we think the right of freedom of association is important.

“We will have a good look at what people are saying and try to take a view about all of this and find the most sensible way forward. I’m absolutely not going to pre-empt what’s going to come out of this.”