In an apparent move to distance itself from outgoing US President Donald Trump, the PGA of America has revealed that its terminated the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump’s Bedminster course.
The announcement comes less than a week after Trump supporters invaded the US Capitol on a day that saw one woman killed in the name of a coup sparked by repeated and unfounded allegations of election fraud from the sitting President.
“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,’’ said Jim Richerson, president of the PGA of America in what’s sure to be a blow to the POTUS. Trump’s Bedminster course had been awarded the tournament back in 2012 and was set to be the first men’s Major to be played at a Trump venue. It is understood that the PGA of America are now looking at other venues that include Bethpage Black, Southern Hills and Valhalla for the May 2022 renewal.
“We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making,’’ said Seth Waugh, the CEO of the PGA of America, speaking to the Associated Press. “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.”
Unsurprisingly, the Trump Organisation has come out firing off the back of the news with a spokesperson stating: “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.”
If this is the beginning of golf’s attempt to distance itself from Trump, then one other course, much closer to home will need to remove itself from a potential Major rotation. Turnberry in Scotland hasn’t hosted The Open since 2009 but according to R&A Chief Martin Slumbers, it remains active amongst the ten potential Open venues in the rotation.
“Turnberry is one of the 10 courses,” says Slumbers. “We’ve talked about this many times in terms of it being part of the pool of courses, nothing’s changed from the previous points and comments that I’ve made on that in respect to talking The Open there. But it’s absolutely one of the pool of courses.”
The possibility of Trump’s impeachment prior to his reign ending may yet prove the game changer for Turnberry, too.