The crown jewel of women’s golf will be played at Trump’s New Jersey course this week.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Back in 2012, when the U.S. Golf Association selected President Donald Trump’s New Jersey golf course to host the 2017 Women’s U.S. Open, it wasn’t a hugely controversial pick. Sure, Trump had been dabbling in birtherism at that point, but he had yet to emerge as a viable candidate for the presidency and was mostly just a buffoonish reality star with a beautiful course that was, conveniently, not too far from New York City. For the most part, the pick flew under the radar.
But, as Trump’s political fortunes rose, so did the call for the USGA to move the event away from Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster. The USGA didn’t heed those calls, and this week, Trump’s property will host the crown jewel event of women’s golf. However, golf’s governing body in America may have made that decision under duress.
USGA executive director Mike Davis told the governing body’s executive committee that Trump had threatened to sue the USGA if they moved the tournament, according to a story by USA Today’s Christine Brennan. In the story, Brennan says her anonymous source was recounting a conference call from two years prior, after Trump had declared himself a candidate. Brennan writes:
“Davis, who told the group he and other USGA officials had met with Trump, told the executive committee, ‘We can’t get out of this. He’s going to sue us,’ according to the person.”
Brennan’s source later added that:
“‘More than anything, it was very pre-emptive, before the storm if he did get elected president,’ the person said. ‘We were starting to get some pressure and so it was brought up and he said he would sue us if we moved it.’”
For those at the USGA who tried to get ahead of this problem two years ago, their worst fears have been confirmed. They now have to hold their most important women’s event at a place owned and operated by a misogynyst. However, with the fear of litigation, they kept silent about any notion of moving and resisted any calls for them to reconsider.
The most prominent appeal came two weeks before last year’s election, when three Democratic senators sent a letter to the USGA requesting they move the 2017 championship out of Trump National Golf Club Bedminster. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania wrote in the wake of the Access Hollywood tape where Trump bragged about being able to sexually assault women with impunity that the then-candidate had shown a “pattern of degrading and dehumanizing women.” Because of that, a Trump-owned course was no place to hold the Women’s U.S. Open.
Yet the threat of a lawsuit worked, and now the best female golfers in the world will gather this week to compete at Trump National. The president is expected to be at his course this weekend for the tournament, but, really, how would that be different than any other weekend for him.