USA Today first reported and published a letter from Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Dick Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to USGA Executive Director Mike Davis, asking him to move the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open from Trump National in Bedminister, NJ.
“The decision that the USGA makes is more consequential than simply the geographic location of a golf tournament,” the Senators wrote in a letter dated Tuesday. “In declining future association with a brand that degrades women, the USGA and LPGA have an opportunity to make clear to the world, and most especially young Americans, that our nation will not tolerate nor do business with any company that condones or excuses action that constitutes sexual assault.”
I had seen the article, but hadn’t had time to address it (still no computer), but I was planning on it. I was asked for my opinion on it this morning via Twitter. I meant to wait and write about it in this forum, but I felt compelled to voice my thoughts in a tweet storm. Naturally, I lost a few more hundred followers, but if I really cared about that crap, I would stay quiet like a coward.
To empathize my point, I DON’T THINK THIS IS ABOUT POLITICS WITH REGARD TO WHO YOU SUPPORT: IT IS ABOUT RESPECT FOR WOMEN.
It’s been over a year since many first called on golf to move their tournaments away from Trump’s courses after he made inflammatory remarks about Mexicans, calling them criminals and rapists. I was among those who voiced a strong opinion on the topic and felt that despite Trump’s contributions and support for the game, it would be wise for golf’s organizations to distance themselves from him after he announced his candidacy for Presidents of the United States.
All of golf’s major organizations got together and issued a lukewarm statement last July.
“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.”
Note the words “inclusive” and inviting.” Well, since last July, Mr. Trump has only made even more horrific and appalling comments about minorities, immigrants and women. He even insulted the parents of a fallen American hero, Army Captain Humayun Khan, who sacrificed his life saving fellow soldiers in Iraq. Trump pointed out Mrs. Khan didn’t speak and stood in silence next to her husband while he gave his moving speech and implied that she wasn’t allowed to because of her religion.
Many of Mr. Trump’s comments throughout the campaign have been offensive and appalling, but his degradation of women have dominated the headlines in the months leading up to the Election (which can’t come any sooner). I’ve never been the biggest Trump fan, but I found him to be a good punchline and thought he was relatively harmless and appreciated his support for golf. Now? I can’t believe I ever posed for a picture with him (last week I thought about posting it as a gaffe for throwback Thursday, but after the debate the previous night, I was much too disgusted), or wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal that came across so flattering. I wished I had more time to research that article instead of a turnaround of 36 hours.
The fact the USGA hasn’t moved the U.S. Women’s Open is a bit shocking. This is the most prestigious women’s golf tournament in the world. Trump’s degradation and objectification of women is well-documented. In a 2005 recording he bragged about sexually assualting women and “grabbing them by the p***y.” He has shamed women for their body images. He has asked his staff to fire waitresses at his course in Los Angeles that he didn’t find sufficiently attractive. Countless women have come forward with allegations of unwanted advances from Mr. Trump. He has dismissed many of them, saying they weren’t attractive and he wouldn’t have wanted to touch them. Sorry, that’s not a defense.
Men on Twitter asked me why these women didn’t come forward sooner. I really dislike that question. It’s like, what, do you need a Ray Rice type of video or the recording of Trump and Billy Bush to believe a woman who assaulted? It is not easy to come forward and accuse a powerful man of sexual assault — precisely for the same reasons people are questioning now: They’re worried no one will believe them. There’s also the feeling of shame or wondering if you brought it on yourself or if it was your fault or maybe you gave him the wrong impression. It’s awful that these are what crosses the minds of women who are sexually assualted and why they stay quiet for so long. It’s much easier to come forward after other women have because it helps provide validation that you didn’t give the wrong impression or do anything to deserve the unwanted attention.
My other favorite excuse: Strong women wouldn’t allowed themselves to be abused or feel the need to use their bodies for career advancement. If it weren’t so sick, I would laugh. No one wants or allows themselves. I know plenty of “strong” women who have been sexually assaulted. And my god, I hate the “career advancement” defense. Please. If it were only that easy! You sleep with a powerful man or let him grope you and suddenly the world is at your feet! No, that’s not reality. Anyone who thinks that’s the case is demented.
There is no denying that Trump has a long history of degrading women and I can’t imagine any self-respecting women being able to step foot on that property and compete for the most prestigious title in the country. It’s also worth nothing many of golf’s best players are non-Americans or children of immigrants or trying to establish citizenship. It sickens me to think that the U.S. Women’s Open of all tournaments could be held at one Trump’s courses after all the lewd and disgusting comments he’s made.
As I mentioned in my tweet storm, this actually isn’t about who you support for President. This isn’t a Democrat vs. Repbulican — I mean, Trump issue. This is about respect for women (minorities and immigrants) and the hard-fought progress made — it would bring us back at least 20 years.
USA Today’s Christine Brennan (one of my heroes) argues:
It doesn’t matter that the U.S. Women’s Open is only nine months away. It doesn’t matter how much planning has already gone into the event. It doesn’t matter how many tickets and sponsorships have been sold and would need to be refunded.
The USGA is not just another business running another golf tournament. It is the national governing body for golf in this nation, with a mission to look out for the best interests of boys and girls and men and women in a game that millions love. The USGA has focused particular and admirable attention the past few years on the game’s decades-long discrimination against women and girls, and it has made a special effort to encourage them to take up the game.
So, how can there be any doubt about what the USGA must do? It must dump Trump National and find another location.
The thought that Trump would host an elite women’s international sporting event is so offensive to so many that it’s not difficult to imagine another top notch golf course stepping up quickly, and happily, with sponsors and volunteers readily falling in line.
“The USGA has been leading and supporting women’s golf since 1895 and it has never been stronger,” USGA President Thomas J. O’Toole Jr. said then. “We hope that current and younger players will be inspired to see national championship competition long into their playing careers.”
What is the message to those young players now? What will it be in July if the greatest female golfers are teeing it up on a course owned by a man whose hideous comments dominated the news this fall?
Sen. John McCain, one of the country’s most prominent Republicans, dropped his support of Trump when that recording became public. So have countless of others. When will the USGA? What will it take?
What *is* perplexing is the indifference of most LPGA players, with a few exceptions. It’s like they don’t want to offend anyone and they’re scared the tournament will be canceled or who knows. Or most just don’t pay attention to current events. They just want to play golf, but it’s more than that. But a scant minority believed the venue must be changed.
“On principle, I feel it’s just not right,” England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff told Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols.
I wonder how many players have even heard the awful recording of Trump bragging about raping women. I think if it were framed that this would be sending a bad message to their young fans, they would have a stronger opinion.
Golf already has image issues when it comes to “inclusion” and “sexism.” What message does it send to keep the Women’s Open at Trump National — where the owner has shown he represents all the negative things golf is trying to distance itself from.
Remember, this is the United States Golf Association — one of golf’s governing bodies and the most democratic organization in the game that hosts the most democratic championships in the world. Sure, they’ve made mistakes with rules controversies and what have you, but as to what they represent and their ideas, they have stayed true to them as far as I know. I have the utmost respect for the USGA’s mission and ideals. That is why I have to believe they will and have to do the right thing. My hope is they’re too busy scrambling and dealing with the paperwork and logistics of changing venues and that’s why they’ve stayed mum and haven’t returned emails/calls from reporters.