Open hosts hint Ayrshire venue will remain on rota
THE R&A has, for the first time, directly addressed the controversy surrounding recent remarks made by Donald Trump, hinting that the American’s well-publicised comments about Mexicans will NOT result in Turnberry being struck from the Open rota.
Speculation had been mounting that the Ayrshire resort, purchased by Trump in April 2014, could be dropped as a host venue for the championship after what the US tycoon and presidential candidate said about Mexican immigrants in June.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” said Trump. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” He later added: “I’ve had tremendous support from the golf world, because they all know I’m right.”
In a joint statement, however, the PGA Tour, USGA, PGA of America and LPGA distanced themselves from those remarks, with some events scheduled to be played at Trump-owned properties, including the 2015 Grand Slam of Golf, moved elsewhere.
Until this year’s Open at St Andrews, the R&A kept quiet on the prospect of Turnberry being scrubbed from the rota in the fall-out from the controversy. However, speaking on the eve of the championship at St Andrews, Peter Dawson, the outgoing chief executive of the R&A, appeared to allay those concerns.
Asked if his organisation has ‘a problem’ or is ‘compromised’ by Trump’s comments, Dawson said: “We don’t have any decisions to make about Turnberry for quite some time and I think we’ll just let a bit of time pass and future championship committees will deal with them at the time.”
Tellingly, Peter Unsworth, the chairman of the championship committee had earlier answered a question on the subject of Royal Porthcawl in Wales being added to the rota, by saying: “We’re very happy with the number of courses on the rota at the moment.”
Trump Turnberry, as it is now known, has staged the Open on four occasions, most recently in 2009 when Stewart Cink defeated five-time champion Tom Watson in a play-off to win his first major title. With the venues for the next three Opens having already been decided, the soonest it could hope to host the event again is 2019.