Britain's Princess Anne among 1st female R&A members
LONDON - Britain's Princess Anne and six leading players were among the first female members to be announced by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews on Tuesday.
The prestigious Scottish club voted to end its male-only membership policy after 260 years last September.
Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth's second-oldest child and 11th in line to the British throne, was joined on the list of honorary members by golfing greats including Britain's Laura Davies and Sweden's Annika Sorenstam.
"This is an historic day for the club and we could not be more proud also to welcome women who have distinguished themselves in golf over many years and have been great players and champions," said club captain George Macgregor.
Former players Renee Powell, Belle Robertson, Lally Segard and Louise Suggs have also accepted invitations to join the club.
The announcement came after a ballot in which 85 percent of members voted to allow women members.
The R&A added that in addition to the honorary members, "a number" of female players have been allowed to join the club, with more set to follow over the coming months.
Former women's world number one Sorenstam, 44, won 10 majors before retiring in 2008, while four-time major-winner Davies, 51, remains an active player.
Powell, 68, is an African-American former Ladies Professional Golf Association tour player who played in more than 250 events.
Scottish amateur Robertson, born in 1936, played on seven Curtis Cup teams for Great Britain and Ireland, while France's Segard won 14 titles before becoming president of the World Amateur Golf Council, which is now known as the International Golf Federation.
American Suggs, 91, won 11 majors and is a co-founder and former president of the LPGA.