The 2020 Summer Olympics isn’t for another three years in Tokyo, but controversy concerning golf has already begun, again. Sure enough, the International Golf Federation (IGF) selected a venue that does not allow female members to play on Sundays and certain holidays. The issue came to light earlier in January when Reuters reported that Tokyo’s first female governor, Yuriko Koike, was “uncomfortable” that women could not achieve regular member status in 2017 and urged them to reconsider.
According to Reuters, Kasumigaseki Country Club held a vote on Tuesday to end the ban on women as full members, but failed to reach a decision:
The board meeting followed calls to shift the tournament from the private club in Saitama prefecture because of the rule, which allows women to play Monday through Saturday but bars them from becoming full members and from playing on Sundays.
The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee sent a letter to the club last week appealing for it to reconsider the policy.
Opinions at the meeting were divided, public broadcaster NHK said, with some of the members saying barring women from full membership was out of step with the times while others said the opinions of all club members should be considered.
Board chairman Kiichi Kimura later told reporters that the club was basically in the position of loaning out the venue for the Olympics. “That this situation has developed is a nuisance for us, it’s really perplexing,” he said.
Japanese media has said a unanimous vote of the 15-member board is required to change the rule.
As it turns out, this impending decision could shift the Olympics to another course in the area. International Golf Federation vice president TY Votaw spoke to Golf.com regarding the matter:
“The IGF has clearly stated to both Tokyo 2020 and Kasumigaseki C.C. our requirements that the golf competition be delivered according to the Olympic Charter,” he said. “If the Club does not change its rules, then we cannot support holding the events at this venue.”
Here we go again!
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