As much as President Donald Trump enjoys golf, so too are the leaders of the sport moving away from the beleaguered American leader for what they say is the good of the game.
The PGA of America stripped the 2022 Trump National PGA Championship in Bedminster, New Jersey on Sunday, days after Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol.
PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh said partnering with Trump would be bad for the organization’s brand and its mission to develop and support the sport.
“It became clear to us that our brand was on the line,” Waugh told The Golf Channel on Monday. “We thought we would jeopardize this mission if we were to hold the tournament at Trump Bedminster. ”
The R&A, the governing body of world golf, said on Monday that Trump Turnberry, a former British Open regular stop, was not in current championship plans.
“We weren’t planning on hosting any of our championships in Turnberry and won’t be doing so for the foreseeable future,” the R&A said in a statement.
“We won’t be back until we are convinced that the focus is on the championship, the players and the course itself and we don’t think that is achievable under the current circumstances. ”
Trump Bedminster hosted the 2017 US Women’s Open, with the US Golf Association lobbying despite protesters outside the club. He was awarded the PGA 2022 in 2014 by the PGA of America, which called the event’s removal a business decision rather than a political one.
“Right now in the country almost everyone considers any decision made to be political,” PGA of America President Jim Richerson told Golf Channel.
“We tried to take the politics out and just come back and focus on our brand and what’s best for golf. We all think it was the right decision. ”
Trump’s trademark for golf includes ownership of at least 17 golf properties around the world and hundreds of rounds played during his presidency.
In the 2017 Presidents Cup, Trump became the first sitting president to present the trophy after a 19-11 U.S. victory at Liberty National in New Jersey.
Trump has performed alongside stars such as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, who provided lukewarm support after the rounds.
“Well, it’s the President of the United States. You have to respect the office, “Woods said in 2018.” You can love, dislike personality or politics, but we all have to respect the office. ”
Woods, a 15-time major winner, received Trump’s Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019.
McIlroy starred alongside Trump in 2017, but said last year he doubted he would do it again.
“I probably wouldn’t, no,” McIlroy said last May. “The day I spent with him and with the others was very pleasant. He’s very charismatic and has been nice to everyone… That doesn’t mean I agree with everything – or, in fact, anything – that he says. ”
Waugh wouldn’t say if he thought Trump was good for golf.
“I know he has a passion for it and I know he’s definitely done an awful lot of good,” said Waugh. “He owns some of the greatest properties on the planet and I know he has been a good steward for those properties. I know he has a constant love for the game and I hope he continues to have a home. ”
– There will be detractors –
Waugh also realizes that in a divided nation, Trump has his supporters even among members of the PGA of America.
“We are not naive that there will be detractors,” Waugh said. “We hope they can understand that we made this not as a political statement but as the guardians of our mission and our game.”
Critics of the PGA of America movement included PGA Tour player Grayson Murray. The 27-year-old American, ranked 563rd, won his only title at the 2017 Barbasol Championship.
“Hey @POTUS, you should just host a tournament the same week as the 2022 PGA Championship on your course,” Murray tweeted. “Set up a huge purse that players cannot refuse. Make the pga championship a weak field or force them to raise their purse and it will cost them more money. ”
– Trump got Nicklaus’ vote –
18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus tweeted last October that he voted for Trump.
“I saw determination and determination to do the right thing for our country,” he tweeted. “His love for America and its citizens, and for putting his country first, came out loud and clear.
Trump is a notorious golf cheater, according to Rick Reilly’s 2019 book “Commander in Cheat,” which detailed Trump’s golf course, noting that some caddies nicknamed him “Pele” for hitting balls from rough to the fairway.
The PGA of America dropped the 2015 Trump National Grand Slam of Golf to Los Angeles after Trump made remarks about Mexican immigrants and in 2016, four years after Trump bought Doral, the PGA Tour moved its event to WGC in Mexico City after it has been played there since 1962.
© 2021 AFP