According to its official Twitter account, Trump Golf is “the most globally recognized brand in luxury golf.”
This week, however, the brand took a big blow when one of the most prestigious events on the PGA Tour, the World Golf Championships (WGC), was moved from the Trump National Doral Golf Course to Mexico City.
“It’s quite ironic that we’re going to Mexico after being at Doral,” four-time major champion Rory McIlroy said. “We just jump over the wall.”
McIlory is referring, of course, to the wall that Trump has promised to build on the southern border of the United States if he is elected president, a wall intended to keep out undocumented immigrants and that he insists Mexico will pay for — despite a former Mexican president saying in no uncertain terms, “We’re not paying for that fucking wall.”
Trump has been angering Mexicans ever since his campaign launch, when he referred to immigrants from Mexico as criminals and “rapists.” It’s safe to say he would not be warmly welcomed at the new WGC-Mexico Championship next March; a few months ago, Mexico City legislators passed a symbolic proposal banning Trump from entering the country.
From the Mexico City legislature, which asked the federal government to ban Donald Trump from the country today pic.twitter.com/VNdykeEQ9f
— Roque Planas (@RoqPlanas) March 3, 2016
Naturally, the presumptive Republican nominee was not thrilled with the PGA Tour’s decision, and used it as an opportunity to lash out at both Mexico and America.
“I just heard that the PGA Tour is taking their tournament out of Miami and moving it to Mexico,” Trump said when he broke the news himself on Sean Hannity’s show Tuesday night. “They’re moving it to Mexico City — which, by the way, I hope they have kidnapping insurance. But they’re moving it to Mexico City. And I’m saying, you know, what’s going on here? It’s so sad when you look what’s going on with our country.”
The PGA Tour has hosted an event at Doral every year since 1962, and its hosted a WGC event every year since 2007. Trump purchased the Doral Resort and Spa in 2012, rescuing it from bankruptcy and spending hundreds of millions of dollars on renovations and upgrades. In 2013, he signed a 10-year deal with the PGA Tour to keep the WGC in Doral, but there was a clause that allowed the tour to move in the case of a title-sponsor change.
Last year, Cadillac decided not to renew its sponsorship following this year’s tournament, which was held in March, and the PGA Tour could not find another sponsor.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem says that this was in no way a political decision, but rather it was “based on the reality that we are not able to secure sponsorship for next year’s WGC at Doral or for years out for that matter.”
However, Finchem didn’t deny the fact that Trump’s political aspirations might have turned off some sponsors.
“Donald Trump is a brand — a big brand — and when you are asking a [sponsor] to invest millions of dollars in branding a tournament and they’re going to share that brand with a host… it’s a difficult conversation,” Finchem said, as reported by the Washington Post. “The politics may have contributed some since he’s been running.”
The PGA Tour has been facing criticism due to its relationship with Trump ever since his campaign began, especially because of his inflammatory rhetoric about Mexicans and Muslims. Last summer, the governing bodies of golf issued a joint statement denouncing Trump’s comments on Mexican immigrants.
This Taco Bowl Is What Donald Trump Is Offering As Hispanic OutreachImmigration by CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast If a taco bowl is presumptive Republican presidential nominee…thinkprogress.org“In response to Mr. Trump’s comments about the golf industry ‘knowing he is right’ in regards to his recent statements about Mexican immigrants, we feel compelled to clarify that those remarks do not reflect the views of our organizations,” the statement reads. “While the LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour and USGA don’t usually comment on presidential politics, Mr. Trump’s comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf.”
After Trump called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States, the PGA Tour issued another statement, again calling his comments “inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf,” and said that after the 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championships, the Tour would “explore all options regarding the event’s future.”
At the end of last year, an online petition surfaced asking that PGA Tour move or cancel the 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championships. As of today, the petition has received 95,135 signatures, including many after the tournament concluded in March.
Trump doesn’t see the PGA’s decision as a knock on his campaign, but rather as an illustration of the current state of the American economy. To him, it encapsulates the very reason he is running for president.
“It is a sad day for Miami, the United States and the game of golf to have the PGA Tour consider moving (from Doral) to Mexico. No different than Nabisco, Carrier and so many other American companies, the PGA Tour has put profit ahead of thousands of American jobs,” he said.