12 Jan 2021 | Professional golf |
Trump courses axed as hosts
by Mark Hayes
The PGA of America has cut ties to US President Donald Trump, moving the 2022 PGA Championship from his New Jersey golf course.
The decision came days after President Trump exhorted thousands of supporters to march on the Capitol building in Washington DC as the American Congress met to certify his electoral defeat by Joe Biden, prompting chaos in which crowds breached the building and five people died.
“It has become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand, it would put at risk the PGA's ability to deliver our many programs and sustain the longevity of our mission,” PGA president Jim Richerson said.
“Our board has thus made the decision to exercise our right to terminate the contract to hold the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster.”
And overnight the R&A has thrown its considerable golfing weight into the mix, ruling out the Trump-owned and legendary Turnberry out of calculations for any of its classic tournaments, including the Open which has been played there four times, including the legendary “Duel in the Sun” in 1977.
“We had no plans to stage any of our championships at Turnberry and will not do so in the foreseeable future,” R&A boss Martin Slumbers said.
“We will not return until we are convinced that the focus will be on the championship, the players and the course itself and we do not believe that is achievable in the current circumstances.”
The PGA of America, which has approximately 29,000 teaching professionals as members, signed the deal with Trump National in 2014. It is the second time in five years it has removed one of its events from a Trump course.
It cancelled the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in 2015 at Trump National Los Angeles Golf Club after Trump's disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants when he announced he was seeking the Republican nomination for president.
Last week’s attack rattled many in the USA and in golf circles, attention quickly focused on whether the PGA of America would keep its premier event –one of golf's four men’s majors – at Trump's course in 2022.
“We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making," PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh told Associated Press.
“We're fiduciaries for our members, for the game, for our mission and for our brand. And how do we best protect that?
“Our feeling was given the tragic events of (last week) that we could no longer hold it at Bedminster.
“The damage could have been irreparable. The only real course of action was to leave.”
The 2021 US PGA is scheduled for Kiawah Island in South Carolina in May.
“We've had a number of places reach out already," Waugh said of next year’s edition.
“We think we'll have a bunch of options."
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