IN a world which has always been half and half since Adam and Eve strutted the Garden of Eden in their discreetly placed fig leaves, the descendants of the latter have oft been ill-treated in the world of sport.

While healthy advances have been made since the dawn of the new Millennium in the likes of women's football, cricket, tennis - they even feature on television now, shock horror - one sport has lagged woefully, indeed, embarrassingly behind.


To some sports-loving women the very pronunciation can sound as terse as an insult and it often is.

To this day there are golf clubs that do not give equal voting rights to women members. There are some who do not admit them to particular areas of a clubhouse, which are designated male only. So much for sporting equality.

But there's more. There are clubs who don't even admit women members. So much for basic sporting integrity and decency.

Well, this week might go some way to changing the pernicious discrimination that burrows through golf as unwelcome as a mole on a green.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews - the sport's spiritual sanctuary and its law-making powerhouse - is to vote in September to finally admit women members. That's 260 years after the Scottish club was founded. Plenty of time then to ponder such a radical change and put it on the agenda.

The patriarchal club's members - all 2,400 males - will at last be asked to consider dragging their trolleys into the modern world.

Said R&A chief executive Peter Dawson: "We very much hope once the vote is taken we will be welcoming women to the club.

"It's something that has been expected; I'm not going to say overdue but I'm sure I'll be asked that question."

The prtents are promising, Dawson adding: "Early indications from the members are very positive indeed.

"We obviously wouldn't be entering this if we didn't feel there was strong member support for this and I hope that turns out to be the case. One has to pick one's time for this. Let's hope we have picked the right one.

"We have been talking about this for quite a while. Society is changing, sport is changing, golf is changing and I think it's appropriate for a governing body to take this step."

The revolutionary move by St Andrews has been interpreted as not simply a battle for fair play, but intended to apply pressure on male-only clubs which are currently on the rota of Open Championship venues, such as Muirfield and Troon. It is a charge Dawson denied.

He added: "If you look back in I don't know how many years time, this will certainly be a step that will be recognised. We are not intending to place other golf clubs under any particular pressure by doing this.".

But at last year's open at Muirfield, a male-only club, there was concern and there was a boycott of the tournament by Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond. He attacked Muirfield's membership policy as "indefensible in the 21st century."

Just under a year and half ago Augusta National, venue for the US Masters which heralds the start the major season next month, eventually bowed to the inevitable and admitted women members.

It's a slow process, certainly, but from Augusta to St Andrews a tide is gathering to wash away one of sport's great anachronisms.


DEBATE raged after Wayne Rooney's instinctive volley from the half-way line which arced into the West Ham net to put Manchester United 1-0 up at Upton Park.

A decade earlier, another Man Who player, David Beckham, had artistically arrowed a shot from almost the same distance against Crystal Palace.

Pundits and ex-players polled viewers and readers as to which of the two superb efforts was the best.

Answer - none.

Neither matched the distance or skill of Spain's Xabi Alonso, who, while playing for Liverpool, achieved longer-range feats not once, but twice, against Luton with his left foot, against Newcastle with his right boot.

Rooney's sublime strike was not even the best in a goal-laden week. That honour belonged to Everton's tyro midfielder Ross Barkley, who slalomed through a Newcastle defence on a solo 80-yard run to hit a rasping, rising finish.

Pundits, just engage brain before running off at the gob.