Donald Trump, who is (seriously) running for president (yes, of THE COUNTRY), has many ties in the golf world and business relationships with golf’s major organizations, including the USGA, the PGA of America, the PGA Tour, the LPGA and the R&A. Don’t get me wrong, Trump has been a strong supporter of golf, but perhaps the industry should consider distancing themselves from the mogul now that he’s declared Mexican immigrants as criminals, drug dealers and rapists.
Trump maintains connections to golf’s most prominent organizations via the courses he owns. The WGC-Cadillac Championship is held at Trump National Doral in Miami and the Puerto Rico Open is at Trump International. Trump National in Bedminister, N.J., will host the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2022 PGA Championship — the type of big-time events that Trump has long coveted to hold at his properties.
The 2017 Senior PGA Championship will be played at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Va. In October the PGA Grand Slam of Golf — an exhibition for the year’s four major winners (though it’s rare all show up) — will be held at Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Trump recently purchased Turnberry in Scotland, which has hosted four Open Championships and the Women’s British Open is being played there later this summer (though it’s run by the Ladies Golf Union).
Then, there’s the issue with the newly-opened Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, located next to the Whitestone Bridge in the Bronx, merely a stone’s throw from Manhattan. There have been murmurings of the course hosting the U.S. Open at some point, but what kind of message would that send to host our national championship on at a venue that bears Trump’s name — which is synonymous with bigotry.
Following Trump’s racist remarks, he claimed he had the support of the golf industry.
“I’ve had tremendous support from the golf world, because they all know I’m right,” Trump told Golf World’s Tim Rosaforte. “I’ve been great to golf. I’ve been investing while everybody else was fleeing.”
Um, I certainly hope not. That comment incited the USGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour and LPGA to issue a joint statement.
“In response to Mr. Trump’s comments about the golf industry ‘knowing he is right’ in regards to his recent statements about Mexican immigrants, we feel compelled to clarify that those remarks do not reflect the views of our organizations.
“While the LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour and USGA do not usually comment on Presidential politics, Mr. Trump’s comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf.”
Well, then, how about pulling events from his venues? The joint statement added that they had no plans to alter any upcoming venues.
Trump also believes golf should be restricted to the wealthy.
“It may be elitist, and perhaps that’s what golf needs,” Trump told Forbes. “Let golf be elitist.”
Ugh. Well, that’s the perception that the majority of non-golfers have with regard to golf — and it’s an attitude that needs to change as the powers-that-be are constantly preaching about “growing the game.”
While golf seems content to stay in bed with Trump, other companies, including Univision, NBC and Macy’s, have severed ties.
Perhaps it’s time for golf — a game or sport that has a long history of exclusionary practices — to follow suit.