January 10, 2021 (AP): The PGA of America ended its relationship with President Donald Trump on Sunday night when its membership voted to move the 2022 PGA Championship from its planned host site of Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.
Trump Bedminster had been the scheduled host of the event since 2014, but PGA of America president Jim Richerson spoke out this weekend following the President’s incitement of violence ahead of an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
“It has become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand and would put at risk the PGA’s ability to deliver our many programs and sustain the longevity of our mission,” said Richerson. “Our board has thus made the decision to exercise to terminate the contract to hold the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster. It was a decision made to ensure that the PGA of America and PGA professionals can continue to lead and grow our game for decades to come.”
This is not the first time a major golf organization has distanced itself from Trump. The PGA Tour’s WGC-Cadillac Championship in 2016 moved away from Trump National Doral in Florida and eventually became the WGC-Mexico Championship. The PGA of America’s Grand Slam of Golf also canceled its event at Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles back in 2015 over some of Trump’s statements on immigration.
“We have had a beautiful partnership with the PGA of America and are incredibly disappointed with their decision,” a spokesperson for the Trump Organization told ABC. “This is a breach of a binding contract and they have no right to terminate the agreement. As an organization we have invested many, many millions of dollars in the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster. We will continue to promote the game of golf on every level and remain focused on operating the finest golf courses anywhere in the world.”
A lot has happened in the seven years between when Trump Bedminster was awarded the PGA Championship and now, and it all culminated with the this week’s events in Washington, D.C.
PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh joined Richerson in speaking out against Trump and defending the PGA’s move.
“We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making,” Waugh told the AP. “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.”
“Our decision wasn’t about speed and timing,” Waugh added. “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.”
This year’s event will be held at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.