The decision comes only days after President Donald Trump’s followers stormed the Capitol in Washington while the U.S. Congress was in the process of counting and certifying Electoral College votes that would name Joe Biden as the next president. Five people, including one Capitol Police Officer, died during the incident.
“It has become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand,” Jim Richerson, PGA of America President said in a video on the association’s website. “The PGA of America Board of Directors voted tonight to exercise the right to terminate the agreement to play the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster.”
The organization didn’t announce a replacement venue for the event, which was to be played on May 19-22, 2022 at the course. The PGA booked the event with Trump National in 2014. Major sponsors for the PGA include Coca-Cola, FedEx and Charles Schwab, which sponsored last year’s championship.
“We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making,” Seth Waugh, the CEO of the PGA of America, told the AP in an interview. “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.”
The Trump Organization said in a statement it has “a beautiful partnership with the PGA of America and are incredibly disappointed with their decision.”
“This is a breach of a binding contract and they have no right to terminate the agreement,” the statement said. “As an organization we have invested many, many millions of dollars in the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster. We will continue to promote the game of golf on every level and remain focused on operating the finest golf courses anywhere in the world.”
This isn’t the first time the PGA has canceled a golf event scheduled to be played at a Trump property. In 2015, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Trump National Los Angeles Golf Club was called off after remarks he made while on the campaign trail. In 2016, the PGA Tour canceled plans for a World Golf Championship event at Trump National Doral resort in Miami, Fla.
This year’s PGA Championship is scheduled for Kiawah Island, S.C., from May 17-23. And with 15 months to go before the 2022 round, tour organizers are confident they can find a replacement for Bedminster. “We’ve had a number of places reach out already,” Waugh said. “We think we’ll have a bunch of options.”
On Monday, the R&A, the organization that stages the Open Championship and governs the sport worldwide alongside the USGA, announced it would not hold any events at Trump-owned Turnberry for “the foreseeable future,” Chief Executive Martin Slumbers said in a statement. “We will not return until we are convinced that the focus will be on the championship, the players and the course itself, and we do not believe that is achievable in the current circumstances.”
Trump is an avid golfer. His organization owns 17 golf courses around the world, including 12 in the U.S., and his courses have successfully hosted for the PGA and LPGA tours in the past.
On Thursday, the day after the Capitol riot, Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Hall of Fame golfers Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player in the East Room of the White House. Golfing great Babe Didrikson Zaharias was also posthumously awarded the medal at the ceremony. Player and Sorenstam played golf with Trump in 2019, as Trump pairing with Player, lost to Sorenstam and U.S, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.