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Report: R&A asks members to allow women to join

LONDON (AP) - The Royal & Ancient looks set to allow women to join one of the world's most influential golf clubs.

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The Daily Mail newspaper on Wednesday cited a letter from the R&A to its 2,500 members recommending they change the all-male membership policy at St. Andrews, Scotland, the home of golf.

''Now is the time to ask members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club to welcome female members into the club,'' Wilson Sibbet, chairman of the club's general committee, was quoted as writing to members.

''It is of course for members to decide if they wish to alter the rules of the club to give effect to this change of policy,'' Sibbet added.

A vote expected to be held in the autumn.

The R&A, which organizes the British Open and is the governing body for the sport outside the United States, did not deny the letter's authenticity but would not comment further ahead of a planned statement Wednesday.

Pressure has been building on the R&A from politicians and sponsors to allow female members. The R&A of St. Andrews was founded in 1754.

Only last year the R&A said it had no plans to pressure all-male clubs to change their membership policies.

''There is nothing wrong under UK legislation with a single-sex club as long as they behave under the equality act as far as guest access is concerned,'' R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said last year.

Augusta National, for the first time in its 80-year history, invited two women to join the club in 2012.

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