“We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making,” Seth Waugh, the CEO of the PGA of America, said in a telephone interview. “We’re fiduciaries for our members, for the game, for our mission and for our brand. And how do we best protect that? Our feeling was given the tragic events of Wednesday that we could no longer hold it at Bedminster. The damage could have been irreparable. The only real course of action was to leave.”
The PGA of America, which has some 29,000 golf professionals who mostly teach the game, signed the deal with Trump National in 2014.
It canceled the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in 2015 at Trump National Los Angeles Golf Club after Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants when he announced he was seeking the Republican nomination for president. The event was canceled for good the following spring.
The shocking insurrection Wednesday rattled the country, and in golf circles, attention quickly focused on whether the PGA of America would keep its premier championship — and one of golf’s four major championships — at Trump’s course in 2022.
“Our decision wasn’t about speed and timing,” Waugh said. “What matters most to our board and leadership is protecting our brand and reputation, and the ability for our members to lead the growth of the game, which they do through so many powerful programs in their communities.”
Trump had delivered a speech to his supporters in which he repeatedly made baseless claims that the election was stolen from him and urged them to “fight.”
They stormed the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers were in the process of certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. After forcing their way inside, the violent crowd ransacked the building and sent terrified staff and lawmakers into hiding. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died.
A new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday found that 67% of respondents said Trump deserves a “good amount” or a “great deal” of blame for the insurrection.