In the wake of his comments about Mexicans, businessman/presidential candidate Donald Trump said Tuesday that he has had “tremendous support from the golf world.” On Wednesday, four pillars of that world made it clear that they wanted no part of any association with Trump’s controversial assertions.
The PGA Tour, PGA of America, LPGA and USGA issued this joint statement:
“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.”
During the announcement of his White House bid, Trump had said,”When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Shortly thereafter, many companies either based in Mexico or with ties to the Mexican-American community, such as Univision, cut ties with Trump. NBCUniversal followed suit, dropping him from “The Apprentice,” a long-running show that had relied heavily on Trump’s personality.
Having poured money into an impressive portfolio of golf courses, including several that host top-tier events, Trump apparently felt confident in his various high-level ties to the sport. He told the Golf Channel on Tuesday, “I’ve had tremendous support from the golf world, because they all know I’m right. I’ve been great to golf. I’ve been investing while everybody else was fleeing.”
“I have Mexicans and South Americans working for me all over the country and believe me, they love me and I love them,” Trump added to Golf Channel reporter Tim Rosaforte. “I think they’re great. I’ve had great support and I haven’t heard one negative thing and frankly I don’t expect to.”
The unexpected arrived Wednesday, but the real test for the four organizations could be how they respond to pressure to pull events from Trump-owned courses. From the Associated Press:
Trump Turnberry on the west coast of Scotland will host the Ricoh Women’s British Open this summer on the LPGA Tour, though that event is run by the British-based Ladies Golf Union. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said in an email there were “no plans to alter any of our upcoming venues.”
The PGA of America has moved its Grand Slam of Golf from Bermuda to Trump National Los Angeles. The two-day exhibition for the year’s major champions is held in October. The PGA Championship is to be played at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, in 2022, while the Senior PGA Championship is to be held at Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia in 2017.
The USGA is holding the U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National in Bedminster in 2017.
The PGA Tour is played at Trump Doral, which the Republican presidential candidate bought in 2012, and the Puerto Rico Open is played at Trump International, though tournament director Sidney Wolf said the course is owned by a local family.
The golf world does, indeed, have extensive ties to Trump. But that doesn’t mean that he can expect that world to stand behind everything he says, especially when something he says is so offensive to so many people.