It’s almost 15 years now since the R&A top brass removed the word “male” from the Open Championship’s entry form in the kind of earth-shuddering event that was broadly equivalent to the dunt the mega-meteor that obliterated the dinosaurs generated.

That seismic occasion – and we’re taking about the Open entry form not the extinction of the dinosaurs – meant that women golfers of a certain standing could try to qualify for golf’s most celebrated major championship.

Cue a stampede of intrepid female trailblazers? Not quite. An entry form from a woman has never been received.

With the Women’s British Open coming under its full administrative umbrella within the next couple of years, Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of the R&A, is keen to build that particular championship into an even more lucrative showpiece as the game’s governing body outside the US and Mexico continues with a concerted attempt to promote and bolster women’s golf.

In 2014, the men’s US Open and the US Women’s Open were held at the same venue – Pinehurst – in consecutive weeks. It was a first for major championship golf but not an idea Slumbers feels needs replicated on this side of the Atlantic.

“I don’t think that would do either of them (men’s and women’s golf) credit,” he said. “I think they need to be distinct. There are logistical differences.

“For instance, think about the grandstand around Carnoustie (at last year’s men’s Open)? You don’t need that big a grandstand if your crowd is only half the size. We can’t take it down over a weekend.

“I think having more regular golf mixed is a good idea, though. We are thinking about whether we might do something like that with one of our amateur events.

“But our Open and the Women’s British Open are the pinnacle of the game for us. These are our majors, and we want to keep them separate and make them both outstanding.”

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Part of Slumbers’ grand plan is to boost the prize fund of the Women’s Open. The 2018 champion, Georgia Hall, who has been made an R&A ambassador, won nearly £370,000 from a total purse of £2.8 million. Francesco Molinari, meanwhile, walked away with a cheque for just under £1.4 million from a men’s Open worth £7.7 million.

At a time when the phrase “gender pay gap” gets banded about in wild abandon, Slumbers is determined to narrow that chasm on the financial front. He is a realist, though.

“We feel deep responsibility about that (the pay gap) and we have to close it significantly, but it’s not simply increasing the prize-money,” he reasoned.

“It doesn’t do any good for us to do it (increase the purse) and then it loses huge amounts of money. That’s not sustainable long term. The issue is how do we get more women and girls playing golf?

“Professional golf is a business. Part of the reason why on the men’s and women’s tours they can play for a living is because there is a large amateur game that spends money on the sport, invests in the sport and allows TV and radio coverage, which is how we get prize money.

“We need to improve the pyramid underneath the women’s game. It’s not just a case of adding prize money at the top. We have to get the bottom working as well and that’s why I am spending more time in terms of the development of the game on the women’s game than the men’s game.

“That’s why we signed Georgia as an ambassador and, over time, that will help create a business model that will support ever increasing amounts of prize money.

“I’m cautiously optimistic of where we are. We will persist.”