America’s PGA severed ties with President Trump when it voted Sunday to withdraw the PGA Championship event from its New Jersey golf course next year.
The vote comes four days after the Trump-led uprising in the country’s Capitol as Congress reaffirmed the election victory of President-elect Joe Biden. This is the second time in just over five years that America’s PGA has removed one of its events from Trump’s course.
PGA President Jim Richardson says the board has voted to exercise its right to “terminate the deal” with Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“We are in a political situation that is not ours,”
America’s PGA, which has about 29,000 golf professionals who mostly teach the game, signed a deal with Trump National in 2014.
He canceled the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in 2015 at Trump’s National Golf Club in Los Angeles after Mr. Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants when he announced he was seeking a Republican nomination for president. The event was finally canceled the following spring.
Wednesday’s shocking uprising rocked the country, and golf circles quickly focused on whether America’s PGA would keep its first championship – and one of the four major golf championships – on Mr. Trump’s course in 2022.
“Our decision was not about speed and time,” Woo said. “The most important thing for our board and leadership is to protect our brand and reputation and the ability of our members to drive the growth of the game, which they do through so many powerful programs in their communities.”
The Trump organization said in a statement that it had a “wonderful partnership with America’s PGA and was incredibly disappointed with its decision.”
“This is a breach of a binding contract and they have no right to terminate the agreement,” the statement said. “As an organization, we have invested many, many millions of dollars in the PGA Championship 2022 at the Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster. We will continue to promote golf at every level and remain focused on operating the best golf courses around the world.”
Woo declined to say whether America’s PGA expects any legal challenges from Trump.
Mr Trump has delivered a speech to his supporters in which he has repeatedly made baseless allegations that his election was stolen and called on them to “fight”.
They stormed the US Capitol as lawmakers were in the process of certifying Mr Biden’s victory. After being forced inside, a violent mob looted the building and sent terrified officials and deputies into hiding. Five people were killed, including a Capitol police officer.
An ABC News / Ipsos poll released on Sunday found that 67% of those polled said Mr Trump deserved a “good amount” or a “large dose” of blame for the uprising.
“It’s not because of any pressure we’re feeling. We’re not forced to make a decision,” Woo said. “We had to make a business decision. It’s an eternal institution. My job is to pass it on better than when I found it. In a hundred years, we still want to be alive.”
America’s PGA, which operates separately from the PGA Tour and its week-to-week tournaments, previously hosted Mr. Trump’s Senior PGA Championship outside of Washington in 2017. That same year, USGA hosted the U.S. Women’s Open n Trump National in Bedminster.
Mr Trump also owns Turnberry in Scotland, one of the most picturesque links in the British Open rotation, best known for the Duel in the Sun between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus in 1977, and recently Stuart Zinc defeated the 59-year-old. the old Watson in 2009 R&A, which determines the rotation of the British Open, has not returned to Turnberry since Mr Trump took office.
He also owns Trump Doral outside of Miami, for years an honorable stop on the PGA Tour schedule and recently a site for the World Golf Championship. Mr. Trump’s presence made it difficult to find a corporate sponsor, and the tournament moved to Mexico in 2017.
Woo said America’s PGA already has a team in New Jersey to begin selling the events to the public and local sponsorship. Now it’s time to find a place to play in the PGA Championship, which dates back to 1916, for next year.
The PGA is on Kiawah Island in South Carolina in May.
“We already had a few places to reach,” Woo said. “We think we’ll have a bunch of opportunities.”