Updated July 9, 11:15 a.m.
SAN MARTIN, Calif. – The USGA responded Friday to news that Martha Burk is backing “heavy-duty protesters” upset that the U.S. Women’s Open continues to be scheduled to be played at Trump National in Bedminster, N.J. next year.
Burk, who first came to prominence in golf in 2002 protesting the male-only membership policy Augusta National Golf Club had at the time, wrote a blog in the Huffington Post supporting a movement to “force the USGA to abandon Trump and his club.”
The U.S. Women’s Open is being staged this week at CordeValle Golf Club just south of San Jose, Calif.
“Our focus is still on conducting the best championship we can for the players, the spectators, the fans and the volunteers, both this year and a year from now,” the USGA said in a statement. “During his presidential campaign, Mr. Trump has made some remarks that are at odds with our belief that golf should be welcoming and inclusive for all. We have reiterated that we do not share his views, and that is still true.
“It is important to note that Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, has fully complied with our standing anti-discriminatory member policy, which we will continue to require of all championship sites.”
Burk is the director of the National Council of Women’s corporate accountability project. In her blog Friday, she wrote that the protest isn’t over whether or not there are any exclusionary policies at Trump’s Bedminster course but is an objection to the USGA “kowtowing to Trump’s overtly racist and sexist views” and called the USGA’s previous “condemnation” of Trump statements merely lip service.
“Golfers not being a rabble-rouser crowd, the current protest is not taking place with placards in the streets, but behind the scenes,” Burk wrote. “It’s being led by New York University historian Dr. Jeffrey T. Sammons and other prominent African American golfers. Sammons, who has been trying since 2011 to get the USGA to disassociate with Trump properties, recently resigned his membership on the USGA’s museum and library committee and its African American Golf Archive in protest of the decision to leave the 2017 Women’s Open at Bedminster.”
Cedrick Smith and Calvin Sinnette also resigned positions with the USGA museum.
“As for Dr. Sammons, Dr. Sinnette, and Dr. Smith, we respect their views,” the USGA said in a statement. “They made exemplary contributions to our efforts to collect and preserve the rich history of African American golf and we’re truly saddened by their resignations. That said, we respect their personal decisions, and we remain committed to the important work of celebrating the stories of African American pioneers in golf.”
Burk also took the LPGA to task while urging readers to sign a petition against the U.S. Women’s Open being staged at Trump’s course.
“Once again, the USGA puts profit over principle,” Burk wrote. “And where’s the LPGA? Silent as usual, even though the Donald has disparaged women regularly, calling them bimbos, dogs, fat pigs, and crazy. Nothing new here - the good girls of golf have always been afraid to cross the guys.”
The LPGA released this statement Saturday morning:
"The USGA has been and continues to be a great partner for the LPGA. The USGA – not the LPGA – owns and operates the U.S. Women's Open and we are delighted to have so many of our LPGA members qualify to participate each year.
"When it comes to decisions regarding venue, purse, TV, etc., those are solely made by the USGA.
"We fully expect to keep the U.S. Women's Open on our 2017 schedule, and support the decisions made by the USGA on this matter."