Recriminations as Trump National loses 2022 PGA Championship
Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey has been stripped of the hosting rights to the 2022 US PGA Championship, with the organisers claiming that staging the major tournament at the venue would be “detrimental”.
The club is owned by Donald Trump and the PGA of America’s move comes after the outgoing US president was accused of inciting the riot by his supporters at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. last Wednesday, in which five people died.
Moves are afoot in Congress to remove or impeach Trump before Joe Biden is inaugurated as the new president on 20 January.
In a statement on Sunday evening, Jim Richerson, the president of the PGA of America, said: “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.
“It has become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminister would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand and would put at risk the PGA's ability to deliver on many programs and sustain the longevity of our mission.''
However, the Trump Organisation has responded by saying it is “incredibly disappointed” with the decision and hinted at legal action.
It added: “We have had a beautiful partnership with the PGA of America. This is a breach of a binding contract and they have no right to terminate the agreement."
Trump National was awarded the 2022 PGA Championship in 2014, before Trump became president, and it has already hosted the US Women’s Open in 2017.
The PGA of America has yet to announce a new host for its showpiece event.
This year’s PGA Championship is due to take place at Kiawah Island in South Carolina from 20 to 23 May.
The Bedminster venue is one of 17 golf courses Trump owns around the world.
The others include Turnberry in Scotland, which is on the rota of courses for the British Open.
However, the R&A, which organises the only men’s major held outside USA, has not awarded a tournament to the Ayrshire resort since it was bought by Trump in 2014.
Turnberry has staged four Open Championships, the most recent in 2009.
In a statement today, Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of the R&A, said: "We had no plans to stage any of our championships at Turnberry and will not do so in the foreseeable future. We will not return until we are convinced that the focus will be on the championship, the players and the course itself and we do not believe that is achievable in the current circumstances.”
Meanwhile, the 2021 season of the PGA Tour Series-China has been cancelled because of ongoing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
USA’s PGA Tour, which oversees the series, stated on Friday that “the obstacles are too difficult to overcome,” but hopes to resume events in 2022.
Greg Carlson, the executive director of the PGA Tour Series-China, said: “We remain committed to the region and want to do everything we can to give competitive opportunities for players in Asia and from the Pacific Rim.
“We are trying to pursue other opportunities for our players to play in 2021. We will also take this pause and evaluate what we might be able to do in 2022.”
However, the PGA Tour’s other International Tours are resuming this year, with a schedule announced for qualifying tournaments on Canada’s Mackenzie Tour, and an itinerary set to be unveiled for the PGA Tour Latinoamerica.
No events were possible on the Mackenzie Tour last year because of border restrictions between Canada and USA amid the pandemic.
The PGA Tour has set dates for six qualifying events in USA between February and April, and, subject to government permission, one in British Columbia in Canada in May.
The PGA Tour Latinoamerica was the one International Tour able to hold events last year, and in December continued its season that had begun in March, with the Shell Open in Miami and the Puerto Plata Open in the Dominican Republic, as part of a wraparound 2020-21 season.
A complete schedule is to be announced in mid-to-late January, with an expected resumption in March and a conclusion in early-to-mid June.