PGA Tour to Consider Moving 2017 WGC Event From Donald Trump-Owned Doral
Donald Trump's relationship with the PGA Tour could be in jeopardy.
The Tour said that after the conclusion of the 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championships at Trump National Doral, it will consider other sites for the tournament.
The Tour did not explicitly say whether it is weighing moving the event because of Trump's inflammatory remarks about barring Muslim immigrants from entering the United States. But on Friday, the Tour issued the following statement to GOLF.com:
"We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf. The PGA Tour has had a 53-year commitment to the Doral community, the greater Miami area and the charities that have benefited from the tournament. Given this commitment, we are moving forward with holding the 2016 event at the Blue Monster. Immediately after the completion of the 2016 tournament, we will explore all options regarding the event's future."
A representative for Donald Trump declined to comment.
The suggestion that the Tour could move the event follows a global backlash over Trump's anti-Muslim comments.
A petition calling on the Tour to cancel or move the 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship from Doral in response to Trump's proposal has garnered almost 35,000 signatures on Care2.
"Trump's outrageous, dangerous statements seem to be fueling his political popularity," writes Aaron Viles, the petition's author. "Let's see if we can hit him where he feels it -- in his bank account."
Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said that he was aware of the petition but would not comment on it.
Some of the strongest reaction to Trump's comments have come from the United Kingdom, where Trump owns a pair of courses. A Scottish politician proposed an official boycott of both Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen, which is scheduled to host the 2017 Scottish Open, and Trump Turnberry, which is in the British Open rota. An online petition calling on lawmakers to bar Trump from entering Britain has also collected well over 500,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon, far exceeding the 100,000 signatures needed to put the matter before Parliament.
Trump's golf properties in the Middle East also seem to be under threat. His branding on Damac Properties' Akoya golf course and housing development in Dubai was torn down on Friday. It's unclear who was responsible for its removal; the owners declined to comment to the Associated Press.
The Tour isn't the only golf organization with close ties to Trump, and this isn't the first time golf's leaders have tried to distance themselves from his rhetoric. Over the summer, the PGA Tour, the United States Golf Association, the PGA of America and the LPGA issued a joint statement after Trump suggested that golf's leaders agreed with him when he called Mexican immigrants "rapists."
"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," the statement reads. "While the LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour and USGA don't 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."
But all four organizations stopped short of ending their business relationships with Trump. The PGA of America issued a mild rebuke, opting to move its Grand Slam of Golf from Trump's course in Los Angeles, but plans are still place for the 2017 Senior PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club in Washington, D.C., and the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.
When reached for comment, PGA of America spokesperson Jamie Carbone referred to the joint statement: "We stand by our earlier statement. We are continuing to monitor developments, but have no other update to offer."
The USGA and LPGA followed suit when asked about the 2017 U.S. Women's Open at Trump National Bedminster.
"Our position has not changed; the USGA stands by the joint statement we made months ago," said spokesperson Janeen Driscoll.
Said LPGA spokesperson Nick Parker, "We have nothing further to add to the conversation at this time."