To golf legend Jack Nicklaus, the PGA of America’s decision to yank this year’s PGA Championship from the Bedminster, New Jersey, course owned by former President Donald Trump was nothing more than cancel culture rearing its ugly head.
The PGA had agreed in 2014 to hold the 2022 event at the Trump National course, a major victory for Trump.
However, four days after the Capitol incursion on Jan. 6, 2021, the PGA announced it had decided to change the venue.
The major tournament was moved to Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where play begins on Thursday.
Seth Waugh, the CEO of the PGA of America, said the organization believed it had to move the tournament.
“We find ourselves in a political situation, not of our making,” Waugh told The Associated Press said in January 2021.
“We’re fiduciaries for our members, for the game, for our mission, and for our brand,” he said. “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.”
“I like Seth Waugh,” the 82-year-old said. “Seth didn’t need this job. He took the job because he thought he could give the PGA of America some good guidance. And I think he’s doing that.
“But this move is cancel culture.”
“Donald Trump may be a lot of things, but he loves golf and he loves this country,” said Nicklaus, the winner of a record 18 major championships. “He’s a student of the game and a formidable figure in the game.
“What he does in the future in golf will depend on what the cancel culture will allow him to do.”
In 2020, Nicklaus had supported Trump in the then-president’s effort to win a second term in the White House.
After the PGA moved the tournament, a Trump Organization spokesman called the move “a break of a binding contract” and said the PGA could not legally do so.
Never should have left Bedminster. Bad call.
— Mike Tamburello (@mike_tamburello) January 25, 2021
In December, the PGA and Trump Organization announced a settlement, with no terms disclosed, according to Golf Digest.
“The Trump Organization’s contribution to the golf community is appreciated,” the PGA of America said in a statement.
“We are thankful the company employs hundreds of dedicated PGA professionals and consistently gives back to the golf community through hosting charitable events and sponsoring junior golf programs,” it said.
“We look forward to continuing to support the mission of the PGA and its professionals, who are the best in the golf industry,” Trump’s son Eric said at the time, according to the New York Daily News.
The PGA said the course “is a major championship-worthy golf course and in a portfolio along with some of the finest private and public golf courses anywhere in the world.”
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