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Transsexual golfers will be allowed to play in this year's women's British Open

Transsexual golfers will be allowed to play in this year's women's British Open

Transsexual golfers will be allowed to play in this year's women's British Open. The policy change was announced Wednesday by the Ladies Golf Union, which governs amateur golf in Britain and also runs the women's British Open. The tournament is open to amateurs and professionals. The LGU move follows a similar policy shift last year by the Ladies' European Tour, the governing body of professional women's golf in Europe. The LGU change comes 11 months after Danish-born Mianne Bagger became the first male-born golfer to play in a professional women's tournament. Bagger had a sex-change operation in 1995. Bagger is playing this season on the Ladies' European Tour and is expected to enter the women's British Open. The Ladies Professional Golf Association--the Florida-based professional women's tour in North America--prohibits transsexuals from playing. The LGU change was approved last month. The first tournament under the new rules will be the Ladies British Amateur June 7-11 at the Littlestone Golf Club in southern England. The British Open is July 28-31 at Royal Birkdale, located near Liverpool in northwest England. "We have a legal situation in Europe and the U.K. that is different to America, so in a sense we had no option but to address the situation," said Andy Salmon, chief executive of the LGU. "In America, they reserve the right not to address it at the moment." "It has taken a considerable time to finalize the gender-policy document, and we are convinced that we have a document that is fair to all," he added. LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw said late last year that his organization was considering a change, partially because of rule changes made by other golf bodies and the International Olympic Committee. "That's a subject that we're going to look at going forward and may very well take similar action," Votaw said. (AP)

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