Hello. Welcome to the first edition of the Slam in 2021. It’s now January 11 – is that too late to say “Happy New Year”? I never really understand how long you’re supposed to go. Anyway, there’s been some fresh breaking news concerning the PGA Championship in the small hours of Monday morning…
PGA Championship on the move
It’s been yet another controversial week for Donald Trump and in golf circles the question was asked about whether or not his golf courses would remain as hosts of high profile events – including the 2022 PGA Championship.
The PGA of America have moved quickly to vote that Trump National Golf Club, in Bedminster, New Jersey, will no longer host the major next year.
It’s the second time in just over five years the governing body has ditched a Trump course, having cancelled the 2015 Grand Slam of Golf – remember that? – at Trump National in LA following the former reality TV star’s disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants. His resort in Doral then lost hosting rights of the WGC-Championship to, hilariously, Mexico.
And when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington DC last week, actions fuelled by the outgoing 45th President’s now banished Twitter account, they knew they had to move quickly.
“We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making,” Seth Waugh, the CEO of the PGA of America, told the Associated Press. “We’re fiduciaries for our members, for the game, for our mission and for our brand. 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.”
He added: “Our decision wasn’t about speed and timing. What matters most to our board and leadership is protecting our brand and reputation, and the ability for our members to lead the growth of the game, which they do through so many powerful programs in their communities.”
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Donny.
Speaking of which…
While golf’s governing bodies continue to do the right thing, you can always count on the players to have Trump’s back.
Just 24 hours after the riots that shook the world Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam were in the White House to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The award is one of the nation’s highest civilian honours and there is no doubt the Hall of Fame players are deserving recipients. But instead their achievement will be forever scarred – all because they couldn’t wait just a little bit longer.
For future reference, Mr Player, when your own son is publicly criticising you for your actions, you’ve probably made a bad decision somewhere along the line.
Another event on the move?
Rumours are swirling in golf circles this week that the WGC-Mexico Championship will move to Florida this year due to the Covid situation before it starts to go round the world with a brand new sponsor as part of the new PGA Tour-European Tour alliance.
I’ve contacted the European Tour for comment. Watch this space.
If I was a betting man – and I am – I’d say I can’t wait to watch another tour event in Dubai…
JT under the cosh
It really hasn’t been a great week for golf. First of all the Golf Channel comes under fire for posting a graphic of golf’s upcoming “best events” featuring – you guessed it – only PGA Tour events. They later quietly replaced the graphic with a men’s and women’s versions.
Then Justin Thomas made headlines when a microphone at the Sentry Tournament of Champions caught him using a homophobic term after a missed putt.
It goes without saying that JT, as a role model, has let himself and his sport down.
Thomas said after his round: “It’s inexcusable. I’m speechless. It’s bad. There’s no other way to put it. I need to do better. I need to be better.
“It’s definitely a learning experience. I deeply apologise to everybody and anybody who I offended and I’ll be better because of it.”
A genuine apology, I’m sure we can all agree, and in his defence – if there is any – the remark was aimed at himself and not another player.
But more needs to be done by the PGA Tour to ensure players understand why this sort of language is unacceptable. After all, if this kind of language isn’t in your vocabulary, there’s no chance of saying it on national TV.
English takes full advantage of rule change
JT couldn’t land another TOC title and it was instead Harris English who triumphed in Hawaii for his third PGA Tour win and first since 2013.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking – the year’s opening event is traditionally only for the previous season’s winners. But in a move that’s a bit like letting the fourth-placed team into the Champions League, the PGA Tour also invited the 30 players who qualified for the FedEx Cup finale at East Lake in September.
Harris and Joaquin Niemann finished at 25-under par, but it was the American who edged the play-off.
- RELATED: What’s in English’s bag?
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