PGA CEO reaffirms stance on events at Trump courses

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NEW YORK – One of the central themes of this week’s PGA Annual Meeting has been the association’s ongoing efforts to grow the game.

It was little surprise then that Donald Trump, whose road to the White House was at least partially defined by divisiveness, was also a topic of conversation considering the PGA plans to hold two upcoming championships (the 2017 Senior PGA Championship and ’22 PGA Championship) at golf facilities owned by the president-elect.

“We’ve said from the get go that we’re not a political organization, we’re a golf organization,” said PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua. “But diversity and inclusion are a key element, it’s a backbone of our strategic plan, it’s the backbone of what we’re trying to do.

“These are both great golf facilities that have open memberships, and it’s not about an individual, it’s not about politics. It’s about conducting the best championship we can and prove that we are about accessibility and inclusion in the game. We’re not perfect, we’re trying.”

Next year’s Senior PGA is scheduled to be played at Trump National in Potomac Falls, Va., and the ’22 PGA will be held at Trump National in Bedminster, N.J. Next year’s U.S. Women’s Open is also scheduled to be played at Trump’s Bedminster facility.

Jack Nicklaus, who was Thursday’s keynote speaker at the PGA’s meeting, congratulated Trump in a tweet on Wednesday and told GolfChannel.com that a Trump presidency could be good for golf.

“Donald is a golfer, [President Barack] Obama’s a golfer, Obama played a lot of golf. Donald doesn’t actually play that much golf, he pretty much gets involved with courses and so on,” Nicklaus said. “I think it’s great to have someone in the White House that loves the game and wants to be part of it. He will play a little golf, but more than that he will be supportive of golf.”