Denis Pugh slams Muirfield for banning female members
Last Updated: 17/07/13 4:51pm
Salmond: boycotting Muirfield over male-only rule
Sky Sports' Denis Pugh says Muirfield's ban on female members is "indefensible".
The East Lothian venue, which hosts this year's Open Championship from Thursday, is one of three all-male clubs on the Open rota, alongside Royal St George's and Royal Troon.
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond will not attend the third Major of the campaign because of the no-females-allowed rule and Pugh says that proves how much frustration there is with the Muirfield hierarchy's stance.
"It is inconceivable to come to a golf course where there is a ban on anyone," said Pugh, who coaches Francesco Molinari. "This is called the Open, not the Closed.
"Golf politics is one thing but this is the politics of the land and the First Minister not coming here shows the strength of feeling.
"It is sort of indefensible and golf doesn't need this as we have a great tournament ahead."
In terms of the competition itself, the recent period of hot weather should ensure that the fairways and greens at Muirfield are hardened, and Pugh reckons that, and the lengthy rough, will test players to the maximum.
But he thinks Tiger Woods, who has failed to pluck a Major since beating fellow American Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole play-off at the 2008 US Open, can snare his fourth Open Championship - provided he does not use his driver.
"Tiger could end his Major drought on the condition that he does not use his driver."
"Everyone is saying how fantastic it is to play in true links conditions but inside they are thinking: 'Oh no!'" said Pugh.
"Bounce introduces a bit of luck into the game and with the firm fairways and the rough to the side it all looks good.
"But if you hit a loose one you are in the rough up to your ears so the players will hope their game is up to the test."
On Woods, the pundit added: "[Tiger could end his Major drought] on the condition that he takes his driver and puts it in his locker as he must not use it.
"He kept it to minimal use when he won at Hoylake [in the 2006 Open Championship] but it should be zero use at Muirfield if Tiger is to win as one of his loose shots could be his undoing."