Donald Trump is heading to a bogey/bogey/double-bogey finish. The president lost the November election, failed to prove fraud caused his demise, and is being blamed for the siege of the U.S. Capitol. Having long ago alienated LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick, the president has now lost the support of the golf world. The 2022 PGA Championship has been stripped from one of his clubs.
Donald Trump has stirred anger in the sports world
It’s often been suggested that then-president Lyndon Baines Johnson lost the support of the American public for the war in Vietnam when he lost Walter Cronkite. The CBS news anchor had traveled to southeast Asia early in 1968, and his assessment was more grim than the public had been led to believe. Historians treat that as the tipping point in the sentiment by Americans against the war.
Donald Trump has finally reached his Cronkite moment when it comes to sports. Since taking office after winning the 2016 presidential election, Trump has taken on the NFL, the NBA, and NASCAR. He found resistance in each case, but golf has shoved back.
The football controversy was the most significant fight. It began with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem in the 2016 NFL preseason. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told reporters.
Then-president Barack Obama defended Kaepernick’s actions, but the subject became a campaign topic as Donald Trump rolled to victory in the Republican primaries and then in the race for the White House against Hilary Clinton. As the protests spread through the league, Trump bashed the players and assailed commissioner Roger Goodell for his response.
With each subsequent skirmish – notably the NBA embracing Black Lives Matter and NASCAR confronting racism – the president lost portions of his initial support.
Now, a major organization in the golf world — a sport widely considered to be conservative-leaning — has found its connection to Trump to be an untenable position. On Jan. 10, 2011, the PGA said it is pulling its 2022 Championship from a club owned by Trump.
The 2022 PGA Championship needs a new home
The Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey has been stripped of the 2022 PGA Championship, the PGA of America announced.
The decision to award the tournament to the club in Bedminster, New Jersey, about 40 miles west of New York City, was already a source of controversy because of the connection to Trump. The storming of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters attempting to derail the certification of the presidential election results forced the PGA to reconsider.
The tournament was scheduled for May 19-22, 2022. The PGA announces its tournament venues far in advance, and the decision to go to Trump National was made in 2014. This spring’s PGA Championship is scheduled for Kiawah Island in South Carolina, and the 2023 event is slated for Oak Hill Country Club, outside Rochester, New York.
“It has become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand,” organization president Jim Richerson said in the announcement.
The U.S. Golf Association faced a similar dilemma in 2017 but proceeded with the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open at the club in Bedminster.
Said Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America: “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 Wednesday that we could no longer hold it at Bedminster. The damage could have been irreparable.”
The PGA Championship needs a new home, quickly
Donald Trump’s business conglomerate owns numerous golf courses around the world, some of which have been entangled in controversies related to the president.
Trump owns the Turnberry Resort in Scotland, which has fallen out of the rotation for the British Open since last hosting in 2009, according to ESPN. The PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Trump National Los Angeles Golf Club was called off in 2015 in light of his controversial remarks on immigration. In 2016, the PGA Tour moved a World Golf Championship event previously hosted by Trump National Doral resort in Miami to Mexico City.
While those U.S. events were fixtures on the golf calendar, neither had the prestige of a PGA Championship, one of the sport’s four majors. The PGA of America now has 16 months to select a new site and begin addressing all of the logistics that normally take up to two years to plan and execute. Because of that, they are likely to go back to a course that has hosted recently and can dust off its playbook.
“We’ve had a number of places reach out already,” SEO Seth Waugh said. “We think we’ll have a bunch of options.”
If the PGA wants to stay close to the metropolitan area, Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, most recently hosted in 2016. The 2019 tournament was at the Bethpage Black course on Long Island.