Jul
7
2015
PGA pulls Grand Slam of Golf from Trump National in L.A.
By Stephanie Wei under PGA of America

Peter Bevacqua, Donald Trump, Derek Sprague

The fallout from Donald Trump’s disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants continued Tuesday, with the PGA of America announcing that the Grand Slam of Golf, an exhibition which pits the year’s four major winners against each other in October, will *not* be held at Trump National in Los Angeles. 

The PGA released the following statement:

“The PGA of America met with Donald J. Trump yesterday and the parties mutually agreed that it is in the best interest of all not to conduct the 2015 PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Trump National — Los Angeles. The PGA of America is in the process of exploring options, including a venue for its annual PGA Junior League Golf Championship, and will comment further at the appropriate time.”

Trump’s office circulated a separate statement:

“Due to the controversy surrounding statements made by Mr. Trump having to do with illegal immigrants pouring into the United States from Mexico and other parts of the world, Mr. Trump does not want his friends at the PGA of America to suffer any consequences or backlash with respect to the Grand Slam of Golf.

The GOP Presidential candidate also used the news as an opportunity to announce his intentions to renovate his course in L.A.

“I have great respect for the PGA of America and everything they stand for,” said Trump in a statement. “This also allows me the time to rebuild the golf course in Los Angeles, fronting the Pacific Ocean and considered to be one of the finest parcels of land anywhere in the United States, into the course I always wanted it to be.”

Well, then it’s a win-win! Given what I wrote this morning, I obviously think the PGA made a shrewd decision. I don’t buy that it was a “mutual” decision, but at least Trump is handling the situation graciously, unlike the way he dealt with Univision, NBC and Macy’s cutting ties with him. However, perhaps it’s because Trump is still hoping to host the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminister, along with the 2017 Senior PGA at Trump National Washington.

According to Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte, Trump still has three years left on his contract with the PGA Grand Slam. Personally, I think it needs to ripped up, but it will be interesting to see what happens going forward.

On Monday ESPN announced that it was moving next week’s ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic from Trump National L.A. Along with the three aforementioned companies, NASCAR has also severed ties with Trump in light of his remarks calling Mexican immigrants “criminals, drug dealers, rapists.”

Last week the PGA, PGA Tour, USGA and LPGA released a (tepid) statement saying that Trump’s comments did not reflect that of their organizations.

Now, the question is whether the PGA Tour and the USGA — which both have future events scheduled at Trump-owned venues — will follow the PGA of America’s lead. What’s perhaps most intriguing is what the International Federation of PGA Tours, which owns the WGC-Cadillac Championship held at Trump National Doral near Miami, will do. Same goes for the PGA Tour with regard to the Puerto Rico Open played at Trump International. Obviously, both those venues have large Latino populations.

As I wrote earlier today, I’m pretty sure if they remain at his venues next March, there will be protestors outside the gates. And as I’ve also mentioned, golf has a long history of exclusionary and bigoted practices, and the industry’s business relationships with Trump appear like they are tacitly agreeing with his controversial comments with regards to immigrants and some of his other absurd views, like golf needing to exist solely as a game for the rich elite.

Your move, PGA Tour(s).