PHOENIX – UltraViolet’s protest of women’s golf’s association with Donald Trump was short lived Saturday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
About a dozen protesters at the front-gate entrance to the tournament were asked by Marriott security to leave the “private property” less than 30 minutes after they assembled. They were asked again to leave while they briefly assembled in a clubhouse parking lot to speak to this reporter while making their way out.
“We weren’t being loud,” said Melissa Byrne, an UltraViolet organizer who flew in from Philadelphia. “We were being respectful. We didn’t want to disrupt play in the tournament.”
Byrne later tweeted that an “undercover detective just threatened to put handcuffs on me” as she was thanking fellow protesters before she left the area.
UltraViolet, an organization formed to “fight sexism and expand women’s rights,” was protesting to urge the LPGA to “sever ties with Donald Trump and move the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open from Trump Bedminster Golf Course.”
Byrne acknowledged understanding the USGA hosts the U.S. Women’s Open, which will be played July 13-16 at Trump Bedminster in New Jersey.
“We’re very concerned that the LPGA is comfortable with the USGA hosting an LPGA event on a Trump golf course,” Bryne told GolfChannel.com. “Women’s sports is about uplifting and empowering women. Donald Trump is about degrading women.”
Bryne and other organizers were carrying signs that read: “LPGA: Take a Mulligan: Dump Trump” and “LPGA: Dump the Racist Sexual Predator.”
The LPGA released a statement Friday addressing the planned protest.
Here it is again:
“The LPGA respects the freedom for individuals and organizations to express their own views. As the world's leading professional golf organization for women, the LPGA is committed to our mission, to create opportunities for the best female golfers in the world to showcase their talent. As a global tour and membership, we try not to let politics get in the way of their opportunities.
“Regarding the U.S. Women's Open, the USGA – not the LPGA -- owns and operates the event 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 respect and support the decisions made by the USGA on this matter.”