The PGA of America, which runs the PGA Championship – one of four prestigious global men’s world championships – announced on Sunday evening that it will no longer hold its event at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in May 2022.
“It has become clear that hosting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would damage the PGA of America brand and jeopardize the PGA’s ability to deliver our many programs and maintain the longevity of our mission,” said Jim Richerson PGA of America President said in a video statement.
The Trump organization responded on Sunday by saying, “We had a wonderful partnership with the PGA of America and are incredibly disappointed with their decision. This is a violation of a binding contract and you have no right to terminate the contract. “
The PGA of America’s decision came days after a President Trump-instigated mob convened on the Capitol, swept past law enforcement and raged through the halls of convention, killing five people, including a Capitol police officer.
Seth Waugh, executive director of the PGA of America, linked the decision directly to the violence at the Capitol. “Given the tragic events on Wednesday, we felt we couldn’t keep it up in Bedminster,” he told The Associated Press in an interview. “The damage could have been irreparable. The only real course of action was to leave. “
For years, Mr. Trump had campaigned for each of the most important governing bodies in golf to bring one of the biggest golfing events to one of its golf courses. In 2014, long before he announced his candidacy for president, the PGA of America selected Trump Bedminster for their 2022 championship.
In the statement, Mr. Richerson said the organization’s board of directors voted to “exercise the right to terminate the agreement” to hold the tournament on Trump’s property. A replacement location for the event, which was first held in 1916, will be selected at a later date. The PGA of America will have many options for the 2022 championship relocation, including New York State-owned Bethpage Black course on Long Island and other tournament venues such as Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.
The Bedminster Club hosted the United States Women’s Open in 2017, and the President’s Club in Virginia hosted the Senior PGA Championship in 2017. The PGA of America, founded 105 years ago, represents nearly 30,000 teaching club professionals.
It is the second time in approximately five years that the PGA of America has withdrawn a tournament from a Trump course. The PGA Grand Slam of Golf, slated for 2015 at Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, was canceled not long after Mr Trump made derogatory comments on Mexican immigrants as he sought the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.
Since entering the White House, Mr Trump has been associated with golf like no other president, even by the standards of an office that is often occupied by a golfer. While being booed by fans at a World Series game and sparking protests from basketball and soccer players, among others, Mr Trump has sought to maintain his ties to professional golf and some of the best-endowed players in US history.
He has awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to four golfers: Tiger Woods, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam. The last three of them, Didrikson Zaharias posthumously, were honored at the White House Thursday, one day after the pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol.
Since his election, Mr. Trump has played golf with Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau, among others. Mr McIlroy, the world’s leading golfer, then declined another invitation to play with Mr Trump and criticized his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in May. “The fact that he’s trying to politicize it and make it a campaign rally and say that we do most of the testing in the world like it’s a competition, there are some things that are just horrible,” McIlroy said . “It’s not the way a leader should act.”
Mr. Trump has visited his golf clubs more than 300 times since taking office and has inspired a bestselling book on how golf is the best way to understand it.
Eric Lipton contributed to the coverage.