What The Kasumigaseki Country Club deems a mere “nuisance” could cost it the most prestigious event in its history.
The Tokyo-area country club declined to change its women’s-exclusion rules Tuesday, possibly creating a standoff with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizing committee, according to Reuters.
Tokyo 2020 previously appealed to the club to change its stance on women, but the Kasumigaseki board of directors was divided over eliminating rules, which prohibit women from playing on Sundays and becoming full members. Tokyo 2020 now could take action, including stripping the private club of the right to stage men’s and women’s golf events at the next Summer Olympics.
After the meeting, board chairman Kiichi Kimura seemingly couldn’t understand the controversy over its rules. In Kimura’s opinion, Kasumigaseki Country Club is loaning itself to the Olympics and doing one of the world’s biggest sporting events a favor.
“That this situation has developed is a nuisance for us, it’s really perplexing,” he said.
Leading golf clubs around the world have abandoned some of their historic discriminatory practices. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (in Scotland) decided to admit women as members in 2014, in its 240th year of existence. Augusta National in Georgia reversed its policy on excluding women in 2012.
The Kasumigaseki Country Club has less than three-plus years to get with the times.
Thumbnail photo via Andrew P. Scott/USA TODAY Sports Images