SAN FRANCISCO, January 11, (THEWILL) – The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) of America has announced its decision to move the 2022 PGA Championship from the Bedminster course of President Donald Trump in the wake of his role in the invasion of the US Capitol on Wednesday, January 6.
Making the point to the press, Jim Richerson, president of the PGA of America, said: “The PGA of America Board of Directors voted tonight to exercise the right to terminate the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster.”
The vote comes four days after the Trump-fueled riot at the nation’s Capitol as Congress was certifying the November election victory of President-elect Joe Biden. It is not the first time in just over five years that the PGA of America has removed one of its events from a Trump property.
In 2015, after Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants when he publicly declared he was seeking the Republican nomination for president, the Association canceled the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Trump National Los Angeles Golf Club. The following spring, the event was canceled for good.
Wednesday’s shocking insurrection rattled the country and people watching all over the world. In golf circles, attention quickly focused on whether the PGA of America would keep its premier championship – and one of golf’s four major championships – at Mr. Trump’s course in 2022 after what happened.
Trump’s New Jersey Bedminster course had been awarded the tournament in 2012, which was before Trump’s decision to run for President. Although Bedminster hosted the women’s PGA in 2017, it was supposed to be the first for one of his courses to host a men’s major.
The PGA will select alternative venues for the tournament before the due date in May 2022 from options available such as courses in Bethpage Black, Southern Hills and Valhalla.
Speaking with the Associated Press, Seth Waugh, the CEO of the PGA of America clarified the Association’s position: “We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making.
“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 only real course of action was to leave.”
In response to the news, the Trump Organisation expressed disappointment with the decision. In guarded comments, a spokesperson said: “This is a breach of a binding contract and they have no right to terminate the agreement.
“As an organisation, we have invested many, many millions of dollars in the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster. We will continue to promote the game of golf on every level and remain focused on operating the finest golf courses anywhere in the world.”
In his final days as President, Trump is facing impeachment again, this time for inciting a violent mob to invade the Capitol.
In a presidency never far from vitriol and scandal, Trump regularly strayed into the world of sport. He attacked athletes who knelt during the national anthem in protest at racial injustice, publicly embarrassed the office of the President with spats against basketballers, went back and forth with female soccer players and race car drivers as red meat for his throng of followers to follow suit.
That kind of dog-whistling was behind the unprecedented mob action at the heart of American democracy and actions such as that of the PGA against Trump properties are growing across the country.