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The Open to remain an all male tournament

The Open will remain an all-male tournament, regardless of what Annika Sorenstam does.

"Never is a long time, but at the moment the championship is for male golfers and for the foreseeable future it will stay that way," Royal & Ancient secretary Peter Dawson said Tuesday.

Sorenstam joins the men for the Colonial Open next month in Texas, becoming the first woman in a PGA Tour event since Babe Zaharias in 1945.

Dawson believes it appropriate that men and women don't play together at the Open.

"There is a marked difference between the abilities and I think it's right that they should be segregated and that there's a Women's (British) Open and the (British) Open," he said.

This year's Open will be at Royal St. George's on July 17-20. Like the Masters at Augusta, Ga., the club does not have any female members.

St. George's club captain David Bonsall said the club asked several women months ago if they were interested in becoming members, and they all declined.

"There is no push for lady golfers to become members," Bonsall said.

Officials do not expect any protests similar to the ones at the Masters.

Dawson said the R&A had not received more than five letters from the public on the issue, though they have had hundreds of queries from media.

"We don't think there is much appetite among the public for this matter," he said. "We don't think it's a huge issue out there at the moment."

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