Trump's remarks put golf's governing bodies in awkward position

By Rex HoggardJuly 1, 2015, 9:00 pm

Donald Trump opened his speech to a group of PGA of America members last fall in his signature blunt style: “You don’t get good publicity.”

Trump, the keynote speaker at the PGA’s annual meeting in November, was referring to the ouster of Ted Bishop a month earlier following an insensitive tweet.

Bishop was removed from office as the association’s president and stripped of his status as a former president for calling Ian Poulter a “Lil Girl.”

We dredge up this episode only because the PGA, along with the PGA Tour, LPGA and USGA, have taken a much more light-handed approach when it comes to Trump’s recent comments regarding immigration.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems,” Trump said in his presidential campaign kickoff. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

On Monday NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast, the parent company of Golf Channel, announced it was ending its business relationship with Trump.

Univision also announced it would not air Trump’s Miss USA pageant later this month, a move that prompted Trump to file a $500 million lawsuit against the network for dropping the pageant. On Wednesday, Macy’s announced it was cutting ties with Trump and immediately will begin to “phase-out” his collection of menswear.

After initially declining to comment on Trump’s statements, the Tour issued a joint statement with the PGA, LPGA and USGA on Wednesday.

“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 read.

“While the LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour and USGA do not 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.”

If golf’s response to Trump’s comments seems a bit more measured than say the move by Macy’s it is because the game’s relationship with the real estate magnate is extremely complicated.

Trump has become a bona fide power broker in golf in recent years, first on the Tour with two events – the WGC-Cadillac Championship and Puerto Rico Open – played on Trump-owned golf courses.



Last year the PGA announced the 2022 PGA Championship will be played at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. Trump National in Washington, D.C., was also named the host site for the 2017 Senior PGA and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf is scheduled to be held at Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles in October.

Trump also purchased the iconic Scottish links at Turnberry in 2014, which has been a part of the Open Championship rotation since 1977 but has not been selected to host the event again, and Trump National in Bedminster, N.J., will host the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open.

In short, Trump has working relationships, to varying degrees, with nearly every major golf organization, a maze of agreements that leaves those same organizations in an awkward position given the current uproar over his comments.

On Tuesday, Trump tempered his comments however slightly telling Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte: “I have Mexicans and South Americans working for me all over the country and believe me, they love me and I love them. I think they’re great. I’ve had great support and I haven’t heard one negative thing and frankly I don’t expect to.”

How long that support endures likely depends on the political winds and how long the current controversy persists.

Trump’s properties are so ingrained in the upper echelon of golf that it would be problematic to sever ties completely. Consider that the Tour’s Miami-area stop has been played at Doral, which Trump purchased in 2012, since 1962 and finding a serviceable replacement in the area would be virtually impossible.

It would be an easier split for the PGA, which would have a few years to find replacement venues for the ’22 PGA and ’17 Senior PGA, and given the association’s handling of Bishop’s faux pas last year it also seems likely the PGA would be feeling the most pressure to respond to the current controversy considering the speed and conviction with which they handled the former president’s gaffe.

Wednesday’s joint response was predictably tempered given Trump’s extensive reach in the game, but as “The Don” himself might put it, golf’s decision makers are now inching dangerously close to a place where bad publicity comes from.

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x