As golf’s leading bodies continue to distance themselves from Donald Trump in the wake of his seemingly endless delivery of controversial comments, many supporters of the presidential hopeful, particularly those who are golf fans, say that his politics and golf business should be kept separate.
The R&A has reportedly decided to deny Trump Turnberry a British Open as long as Trump is involved with the famous course, the first significant sign that Trump’s comments may hurt his business. GOLF.com also reported that the PGA Tour may seek out a new venue for the 2017 WGC-Cadillac Championship, which has been played at Trump National Doral in Miami.
And now, Trump is facing further pressure in the United Kingdom after comments made by Sandy Jones, chief executive of the Professional Golfers’ Association, which represents PGA professionals in England, Scotland and Ireland and is heavily involved with the Ryder Cup.
"The controversy is not a positive thing for golf," Jones told BBC Scotland about Trump’s antics. "I’d prefer to see less controversy around the game and sadly Donald is producing it through his political motive, not through his golfing ones. They are bound to be linked, there is no getting away from that."
Trump owns two courses in Scotland, Trump Turnberry and Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen. He bought Turnberry in 2014 with hopes of achieving his longtime goal of hosting a men’s major championship, and the R&A was overseeing changes to the course that would prime it for a British Open return. That plan, however, seems to have changed drastically.
"I’m sure the R&A will be managing that situation very cautiously as they need to do and try to keep golf away from the political scene," said Jones. "An announcement to play at Turnberry would cause a huge political uproar. I’m sure they’ll come to the right conclusion at the end of the day."
Former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley was not as outspoken against Trump as Jones, but did express his disappointment in Trump Turnberry being excluded from the British Open rota.
"I don't envy (the R&A) having to make that decision," McGinley told BBC Scotland. "What would be a real shame is if Turnberry doesn't happen to be on The Open rota because it's a terrific golf course."
McGinley would add that he feels player will respect whatever final decision the R&A comes to. "I think they'll be guided by the R&A."