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R&A could be split in two divisions

The secretary of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club believes Britain is ``miles away'' from disputes over all-male clubs like the one at Augusta National and the Masters.

Even so, Peter Dawson said in an interview with The Scotsman that golf's oldest governing body could be split into two divisions -- the all-male golf club, and a governing side of the R&A that would be open to women.

Dawson said while he has no problems with single-gender golf clubs, it might raise questions if an all-male organization is setting rules for both sexes.

``All I can say right now is that we have a group looking at these things very hard, and when they come up with their report, we'll take a view on it,'' Dawson said. ``We know what's going around us. There has to be a response, but not a knee-jerk response.''

The British Open was held this year at all-male Muirfield, but Dawson said in July that the R&A's only concern was taking its championship to the best links.

Dawson said he is sympathetic toward Augusta National, primarily because of the way the campaign has been carried out.

``The most worrying aspect is how Martha Burk and her organization seem to be saying, 'I have a view on how society should be ordered. You at Augusta National are not doing anything illegal, but you do not conform to my view. So I'm going to do everything I can to damage your golf tournament until you bend to my view,''' he said.

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