The British Open golf championship will not be staged at the Turnberry course in Scotland owned by outgoing US President Donald Trump for the “foreseeable future”, tournament organisers announced Monday.
The move follows the decision by American golf authorities to strip Trump’s Bedminster course in New Jersey of the right to host the 2022 US PGA Championship.
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Last week Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol building in an incident that left five people dead as they attempted to disrupt Congress from approving the result of November’s US presidential election won by Joe Biden.
A statement issued by the Royal and Ancient, which runs the British Open — the only one of golf’s four majors played outside the US — said taking the championship back to Turnberry would distract from events on the course.
“The R & A had no plans to stage any of our championships at Turnberry and will not do so in the foreseeable future,” said chief executive Martin Slumbers.
“We will not return until we are convinced that the focus will be on the championship, the players and the course itself and we do not believe that is achievable in the current circumstances.”
The British Open switches venues every year with Turnberry one of 10 courses on the current rotation.
However, the championship has not been played at Turnberry since 2009, five years before the Trump Organisation purchased the course and renamed it “Trump Turnberry”.
Before the British Open decision was announced, the PGA also hit Trump’s ego where it hurts.
“The PGA of America Board of Directors voted tonight to exercise the right to terminate the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster,” PGA of America President Jim Richerson said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“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,” Richerson added in a video posted on the organisation’s website.
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said Trump was “gutted” by the snub.
“A lot has happened in the last week, including the president losing his Twitter feed, impeachment coming to the fore and the PGA withdrawing from Trump National. He’s ‘gutted’ by the PGA move, a person close to the White House says,” Haberman tweeted.
“He’s angry about impeachment, people who have spoken to him say. But the reaction to the PGA decision was different order of magnitude.”
The announcements follow increased calls in the golf world for leaders of the sport to distance themselves from Trump.
Golfweek, in a scathing column urging the game to sever ties with the president, said the PGA of America had been debating for two years whether to move the organisation’s flagship event but had been nervous about antagonising a “famously vindictive man”.
Trump’s repeated false claims of election fraud, and his incendiary address to protesters prior to the attack on the Capitol have prompted critics to call for his resignation, his impeachment, or his removal from office as unfit under the Constitution’s 25th amendment.
The 74-year-old’s divisive rhetoric had long posed a problem for a game he has been identified with.
Trump is an avid fan and player of golf — making numerous trips to play at Bedminster during his presidency.
Golf greats Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam came in for criticism when they accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump last week — a day after the chaos in Washington.
Golf Digest, while noting that 15-time major champion Tiger Woods had also accepted the honour from Trump in May, called it a “tone deaf” gesture in an editorial calling for the sport to distance itself from Trump.