January 31, 2024

It took almost three centuries and two votes for women to play in the first women's British Open at Muirfield.

The Muirfield golf course in Scotland has laid the grass for the biggest, biggest sporting tournaments 16 times. The institution first did so 130 years ago.

The historic clubhouse owned by the venue is over 275 years old, and common to both the clubhouse and the major tournaments it has hosted is that only one gender is welcome.

The venue hosted its first women's tournament today as the prestigious British Women's Open kicked off this weekend.

Three remarkable Danish players are taking part in the tournament.

Nicole Broch Estrup, Nanna Kerz Madsen and Emily K. Pedersen completed the first round on Thursday but did not perform to a high standard.

The latter went one stroke below par.

Both the Danes and the rest of the world's best golfers play this tournament like any other - they want to win. If you want to join them too, be sure to read the tips on how to achieve the perfect golf shot: https://www.golfbladet.com/saadan-opnaar-du-det-perfekte-golfsving/.

But the Women's British Open is one of the most anticipated of the women's season, and this year it's special. That's because the tournament as such is not new to the golf calendar, but it is now being held at a club that a few years ago women were not even allowed to be members.

Former world number one Nellie Korda said before the tournament started that it was time for women to play at Muirfield course too.

- I was really excited to come out and play in this tournament. I know the history and being involved in the first women's tournament is fantastic," said Nelly Korda at the pre-start press conference.

- It's proof that women's golf continues to evolve. It's fun to be a part of now because things are getting bigger and we feel like we're making a difference for future generations.

It's taken a while to get women in the room

The fact that women are even allowed to play on a course owned by the Edinburgh Golfers' Honourable Company was unthinkable just a few years ago. It was a men-only course before a democratic decision was made as to whether women could also compete on the venue's courses.

In 2016, members of the 275-year-old club had to vote on whether women could be members. No, that was the decision.

This caused an uproar in the golf world, where the club was told it was finished hosting the British Open.

But members later changed their minds and the following year a new vote led to women saying hello.

For Scottish golf star Catriona Matthew, leaving the club with golf clubs is special.

At Muirfield, she plays for something close to home, but it wasn't what she was expecting at the start of her career.

Scotland's most successful golfer, Matthew, 52, lives by the course and picks up the trash during the 1992 men's tournament.

She is now allowed to play herself.

- I think it's great to come here. In the last 10 years, women have started visiting the same fields that men have played on for 50-60 years, she says.

- I think it's elevating the premiership - now we're playing on fields we're used to seeing. It is good for us.

Sweden's Anna Nordqvist, who is the British Open champion, was also looking forward to making history.

"I know the men have been playing here for years, so it's a fantastic opportunity for us to have Muirfield at our tournament," she tells the press.

- 'It's really nice to look at the pictures. I've been looking forward to this week for a long time.

The Danes will play in the second round of the tournament tomorrow, which concludes on Sunday.

Read more about women in sport! Read the story of star Caroline Wozniacki's rise to tennis fame.

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