As much as President Donald Trump loves golf, the leaders of the sport are racing away from the embattled US leader, what they think is the good of the game.
The PGA of America robbed Trump National of the 2022 PGA Championship on Sunday in Bedminster, New Jersey, days after Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol.
Seth Waugh, PGA of America’s chief executive officer, says working with Trump would be detrimental to the company’s brand and its mission to grow and support the sport.
“We realized our brand was at stake,” Waugh told The Golf Channel on Monday. “We thought we would endanger this mission if we held the tournament in Trump Bedminster.”
The R&A, the global governing body of golf, said Monday that Trump Turnberry, a previous regular stop for the British Open, is not included in current plans for the championship.
“We had no plans to host any of our championships at Turnberry and we will not do so any time soon,” the research and development department said in a statement.
“We will not return until we are convinced that the focus will be on the championship, the players and the field itself and we don’t think that is achievable in the current circumstances.”
Trump Bedminster hosted the 2017 US Women’s Open, where the US Golf Association made progress despite protesters outside the club. It was awarded the PGA 2022 in 2014 by the PGA of America, which labeled removing the event as a business rather than a political decision.
“Right now, almost everyone in the country views a decision as political,” PGA of America president Jim Richerson told Golf Channel.
“We have tried to get politics out of the way and focus on our brand and what’s best for the game of golf. We all believe it was the right decision.”
Trump’s hallmark love of golf includes owning at least 17 golf courses worldwide and hundreds of rounds played during his presidency.
At the 2017 Presidents Cup, Trump became the first seated President to award the trophy after the United States beat Liberty National in New Jersey at 19:11.
Trump has played alongside stars like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, who gave lukewarm support after rounds.
“Well, he’s the President of the United States. You have to respect office,” Woods said in 2018. “You may like personality or politics, but we all have to respect office.”
Woods, a 15-time grand winner, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump in 2019.
McIlroy played 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 others was very pleasant. He’s very charismatic and nice to everyone … That doesn’t mean that I agree with everything – or even everything – that he says.”
Waugh wouldn’t say if he thought Trump was good at golfing.
“I know he’s passionate about it, and I know he has certainly done a lot of good,” said Waugh. “He owns some of the largest properties on the planet and I know he has been a good steward of those properties. I know he has an ongoing love for the game and I hope he continues to have a home in it.”
– There will be critics –
Waugh also realizes that in a divided nation, Trump has supporters even under the PGA of America membership.
“We’re not naive that there will be critics,” said Waugh. “We hope that you can understand that we made this not as a political statement but as stewards of our mission and our game.”
Among the critics of the PGA of America train was PGA Tour player Grayson Murray. The 27-year-old American in 563th won his only title at the 2017 Barbasol Championship.
“Hey @POTUS, you should only be hosting one tournament on your pitch in the same week as the 2022 PGA Championship,” tweeted Murray. “Put up a huge wallet that players can’t refuse. Make the PGA championship a weak field or force them to increase their wallet and cost them more money.”
– Trump got Nicklaus vote –
Jack Nicklaus, an 18-time major champion, tweeted last October that he voted for Trump.
“I’ve seen a determination and determination to do what’s right for our country,” he tweeted. “His love for America and its people and country first has been shown loud and clear.
Trump is a notorious golf cheat, according to Rick Reilly’s book “Commander in Cheat” from 2019, which detailed Trump’s golf. Some caddies called him “Pele” for kicking balls from the rough into the fairway.
The PGA of America dropped Trump National’s 2015 Grand Slam of Golf in Los Angeles after Trump made remarks about Mexican immigrants. In 2016, four years after Trump bought Doral, the PGA Tour moved its WGC event to Mexico City after playing there since 1962.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)