UltraViolet, a protest group that signed on as one of the official partners of the Women’s March on Washington, has collected more than 100,000 signatures on a petition urging the USGA to move the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open from Trump Bedminster in Bedminster, N.J..
The group, a nonprofit advocacy organization “mobilized to fight sexism and expand women’s rights,” is determined to pressure USGA executive director Mike Davis to move the event because it would be “offensive” for a women’s organization to hold an event to benefit the brand of a politician with a history of misogynistic rhetoric.
The petition is the clearest signal yet that the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open has landed squarely in the intersection between sports and politics and could be the target of political protests and demonstrations this summer.
“Trump has used his platform to divide communities,” UltraViolet’s chief campaign officer Karin Roland told GOLF.com. “The USGA has a choice: do they want to generate millions in revenue and positive branding and free advertising for his course, or do they want to take a stand and say we’re not contributing to his course because we stand for inclusiveness?”
UltraViolet isn’t the first group to call on the USGA to move the tournament. Martha Burk, who famously challenged Augusta National’s male-only membership policy, called on the USGA and the PGA to sever ties with Trump back in September, and shortly after three Democratic senators sent a letter to the USGA urging them to find another venue to host the event.
The USGA has, thus far, resisted those calls and forged ahead with its current plans. When reached for comment about the petition, USGA spokesperson Janeen Driscoll issued the following statement.
”The USGA has a deep respect for the freedoms we all enjoy in our country to express our views. We are committed to fostering a game that is welcoming and inclusive to all who choose to play it, and ensuring our championships are conducted without discrimination and in a safe and secure manner for athletes, volunteers, staff and fans. We are excited to provide a comprehensive test of golf for the very best female players in the world.”
UltraViolet plans to deliver its petition to the USGA soon, but plans for further action have not been solidified.
“We’re still planning out next steps, gauging the response and looking at all our options,” Roland said. “But we certainly have protested when that makes sense.”