KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) – The PGA of America cut ties with President Donald Trump when he voted Sunday to remove the PGA Championship event from its New Jersey golf course next year.
The vote comes four days after the uprising promoted by Trump on the nation’s Capitol when Congress certified the electoral victory of President-elect Joe Biden. This is the second time in just over five years that the PGA of America removed one of its events from a Trump course.
PGA Chairman Jim Richerson says the board voted to exercise its right to “terminate the deal” with Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“We are in a political situation that we have not created,” said Seth Waugh, executive director of the PGA of America, in a telephone interview. “We are fiduciaries of our members, of the game, of our mission and of our brand. And what is the best way to protect that? The tragic events of Wednesday gave us the feeling that we could no longer celebrate it in Bedminster. The damage may have been irreparable. The only real course of action was to leave. The PGA of America, which has some 29,000 golf professionals who mostly teach the game, signed the deal with Trump National in 2014.
He canceled the 2015 PGA Grand Slam of Golf at the Trump National Los Angeles Golf Club after Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants when he announced that he was seeking the Republican nomination for president. The event was definitively canceled the following spring.
Wednesday’s shocking insurrection shook the country, and in golf circles, attention quickly turned to whether the U.S. PGA would keep its top championship, and one of the top four golf championships, at Trump’s course in 2022. “Our decision was not about speed and timing,” Waugh said. “What matters most to our board and leadership is protecting our brand and reputation, and the ability of our members to lead the growth of the game, which they do through so many powerful programs in their communities.
Trump had made a speech to his supporters in which he repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims that his election had been stolen and urged them to “fight.” They stormed the United States Capitol while lawmakers were in the process of certifying the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. . After breaking in, the violent mob ransacked the building and sent terrified staff and legislators into hiding. Five people were killed, including a Capitol police officer.
A new ABC News / Ipsos poll published on Sunday found that 67% of those polled said Trump deserves a “good amount” or a “great amount” of blame for the insurrection.
“This is not due to the pressures we feel. We are not being forced to make a decision, ”Waugh said. “We had to make a business decision. It is a perpetual institution. My job is to deliver it better than when I found it. A hundred years from now, we still want to be vibrant. ” He chose not to comment when asked if he expected any legal challenges from the Trump Organization.
The PGA of America, which operates separately from the PGA Tour and its weekly tournaments, previously held the PGA Senior Championship at Trump Field outside of Washington in 2017. That was the same year the USGA hosted the USGA. Women’s Open at Trump National. at Bedminster.
Trump also owns Turnberry in Scotland, one of the most picturesque links in the British Open rotation, most famous for the “Duel in Sun” between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus in 1977, and more recently Stewart Cink beating Watson of 59 years in 2009. The R&A, which determines the rotation of the British Open, has not returned to Turnberry since Trump took office.
He also owns Trump Doral on the outskirts of Miami, for years a venerable stop on the PGA Tour calendar and, most recently, a World Golf Championship site. Trump’s presence made it difficult to find a corporate sponsor and the tournament moved to Mexico in 2017.
Waugh said the PGA of America already had a team in New Jersey to start working on selling the events to the public and to local sponsorship. Now it’s about finding a place to play the PGA Championship, which dates back to 1916, for the next year.
The PGA will take place on Kiawah Island in South Carolina in May. “We have already had several places to go,” he said. “We think we will have a lot of options.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.