VIDEO: Woods sidesteps Open’s great men-only debate

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Tiger Woods has refused to be drawn into the debate surrounding this year’s Open Championship at Muirfield, which is one of the three courses on the Open rota not to allow women members.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond is among the political figures who have said they will not attend the event in protest, describing the policy as “indefensible in the 21st century”.

Tiger Woods during practice day four for the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield Golf Club, East Lothian.

Tiger Woods during practice day four for the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield Golf Club, East Lothian.

However, when asked if he felt there was a moral difference between a golf club excluding members based on their gender or their race, Woods said: “I don’t make the policies here. I’m not a member, so I’m not going to speak for the club.”

Pressed on whether he was comfortable playing at Muirfield, the world number one golfer added: “We’ve played the Masters, we’ve played here and I don’t know of any other places.”

Muirfield, Royal St George’s and Royal Troon are the three courses on the nine-strong Open rota which remain men-only.

Chief executive Peter Dawson reiterated the R&A’s stance on taking the Open to clubs like Muirfield in April, saying courses would not be bullied into changing their policies by the threat of losing the Open.

“We come for the golf course,” he said.

“To think we would not come to a course as wonderful as this (Muirfield) is something we could not countenance.

“It’s like taking the Boat Race to the Humber if you did not like (Mayor of London) Boris (Johnson’s) policies.”

First Minister Salmond did attend the Open at Royal St George’s in 2011 but claimed he was unaware they shared the same approach as Muirfield.

Open Championship tee times

Round one at Muirfield tomorrow, players from GB or Ireland unless stated. (x) denotes amateur

6.32 Lloyd Saltman, Peter Senior (Aus), Oliver Fisher

6.43 Robert Karlsson (Swe), Todd Hamilton (USA), (x) Ben Stow

6.54 Thomas Aiken ((SA)), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha), Bud Cauley (USA)

7.05 Brooks Koepka (USA), Mikko Ilonen (Fin), Ashun Wu (Chn)

7.16 David Duval (USA), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Chris Wood

7.27 Stewart Cink (USA), Scott Stallings (USA), Richard McEvoy

7.38 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), K J Choi (Kor), Jimmy Walker (USA)

7.49 Ben Curtis (USA), Shane Lowry, Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spa)

8.00 Brian Davis, Jonas Blixt (Swe), Graham Delaet (Can)

8.11 Robert Garrigus (USA), John Senden (Aus), Marc Warren

8.22 Martin Kaymer (Ger), (x) Garrick Porteous, Jason Day (Aus)

8.33 Carl Pettersson (Swe), Jason Dufner (USA), David Lynn

8.44 Bubba Watson (USA), Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), Dustin Johnson (USA)

9.00 Tom Watson (USA), Sir Nick Faldo, Fred Couples (USA)

9.11 Justin Rose, Ernie Els ((SA)), Brandt Snedeker (USA)

9.22 Ian Poulter, Keegan Bradley (USA), Billy Horschel (USA)

9.33 Richard Sterne ((SA)), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa), Nick Watney (USA)

9.44 Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Phil Mickelson (USA)

9.55 Tim Clark ((SA)), Scott Piercy (USA), Kevin Streelman (USA)

10.06 Shingo Katayama (Jpn), Zach Johnson (USA), Thomas Bjorn (Den)

10.17 Angel Cabrera (Arg), Camilo Villegas (Col), Tano Goya (Arg)

10.28 Ken Duke (USA), George Coetzee ((SA)), Mark Calcavecchia (USA)

10.39 John Huh (USA), Brendan Jones (Aus), Hyung-sung Kim (Kor)

10.50 Josh Teater (USA), Steven Tiley, (x) Jimmy Mullen

11.01 K.T. Kim (Kor), Steven Jeffress (Aus), Luke Guthrie (USA)

11.12 Gareth Wright, John Wade (Aus), Makoto Inoue (Jpn)

1133 Y.E. Yang (Kor), Danny Willett, Johnson Wagner (USA)

11.44 Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha), Lucas Glover (USA), Oscar Floren (Swe)

11.55 Boo Weekley (USA), Sandy Lyle, Niclas Fasth (Swe)

12.06 (x) Grant Forrest, Marcus Fraser (Aus), Mark O’Meara (USA)

12.17 Tom Lehman (USA), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha), Fredrik Jacobson (Swe)

12.28 (x) Rhys Pugh, Justin Leonard (USA), Marc Leishman (Aus)

12.39 Kyle Stanley (USA), Alvaro Quiros (Spa), Alexander Noren (Swe)

12.50 Russell Henley (USA), Jordan Spieth (USA), (x) Matthew Fitzpatrick

13.01 Michael Thompson (USA), Padraig Harrington, Richie Ramsay

13.12 Vijay Singh (Fij), Darren Clarke, Martin Laird

13.23 Ryan Moore (USA), Henrik Stenson (Swe), (x) Steven Fox (USA)

13.34 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Jim Furyk (USA), Paul Lawrie

13.45 Harris English (USA), Geoff Ogilvy (Aus), Stephen Gallacher

14.01 Charl Schwartzel ((SA)), Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia (Spa)

14.12 Adam Scott (Aus), Matt Kuchar (USA), Luke Donald

14.23 Matteo Manassero (Ita), Rickie Fowler (USA), Hunter Mahan (USA)

14.34 Peter Hanson (Swe), Hiroyuki Fujita (Jpn), Bill Haas (USA)

14.45 Tiger Woods (USA), Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen (SA)

14.56 Webb Simpson (USA), Branden Grace ((SA)), Jamie Donaldson

15.07 Francesco Molinari (Ita), Toru Taniguchi (Jpn), Bo Van Pelt (USA)

15.18 Brett Rumford (Aus), D.A. Points (USA), Marcel Siem (Ger)

15.29 George Murray, Mark Brown (Nzl), Justin Harding ((SA))

15.40 Scott Jamieson, Gregory Bourdy (Fra), Shiv Kapur (Ind)

15.51 Scott Brown (USA), Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn), Gareth Maybin

16.02 Tyrrell Hatton, Eduardo De La Riva (Spa), Kenichi Kuboya (Jpn)

16.13 Stephen Dartnall (Aus), Darryn Lloyd (SA), Daisuke Maruyama (Jpn)