Outspoken and oft-controversial Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has proved nearly bulletproof in the polls despite making comments and proposals that have angered many, including saying that many undocumented Mexican immigrants were "rapists" and calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Those comments have now reportedly hurt the billionaire businessman in his pursuit of hosting one of golf's four major tournaments at his Turnberry course in Scotland.
When Trump bought Turnberry last year, promising a significant remodel, it was widely assumed the British Open would return to the historic course that has frequently hosted the prestigious tournament. Martin Slumbers, the new president of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A), one of golf's governing bodies, was expected to endorse a plan for Trump's Turnberry to host the Open in 2020. But Trump's comments about Mexicans and Muslims have caused officials within the R&A to reconsider the plan, according to a report from the Independent.
The paper wrote that the Scottish governing body "privately decided that his reputation is now so toxic that the newly renamed Trump Turnberry can no longer host the game’s most prestigious tournament." The group reportedly worried about the potential effects on sponsorship deals and players pulling out of the tournament.
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“One word was thrown around: Enough,” a member close to the championship committee within the R&A told the Independent following Trump's comments on Muslims. Turnberry hosted the women's British Open this summer, with the LPGA stating after Trump's June comments on immigrants that it did not have enough time to make new plans for the contest but condemned the remarks.
Trump bought Turnberry in April 2014 from Dubai-based Leisurecorp for the relative bargain price of 35.7 million pounds ($63 million). He added his name to the historic course and resort and remodeled it, while beginning changes to make the course tougher on stronger modern players. Turnberry has hosted the Open four times, most recently in 2009.
Trump's relationship with the PGA, U.S. golf's governing body, is in jeopardy, as well. The group is considering moving the PGA Tour's WGC-Cadillac Championship from Trump's Doral course in Florida following next year's competition, Golf.com reported.
"We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf," the PGA said in a statement to Golf.com "The PGA Tour has had a 53-year commitment to the Doral community, the greater Miami area and the charities that have benefited from the tournament. Given this commitment, we are moving forward with holding the 2016 event at the Blue Monster. Immediately after the completion of the 2016 tournament, we will explore all options regarding the event's future."
A petition calling for the PGA Tour to "Dump Trump" and move next year's tournament has garnered more than 47,000 signatures online.