Golf legend Jack Nicklaus blasted “cancel culture” as the real reason behind the PGA’s decision to move the 2022 Championship from the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. to Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, O.K.
“This move is cancel culture,” Nicklaus said in a recent interview with The Fire Pit Collective, a golf media site. “Donald Trump may be a lot of things, but he loves golf and he loves this country. 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.”
The PGA announced the course change after the events of January 6, 2020 unfolded. The decision voided a contract that had been in place since 2014. The PGA released a statement on Jan 10, 2021 announcing it would not play it’s 104th championship at the Trump course.
“The PGA of America Board of Directors voted tonight to exercise the right to terminate the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster,” said Jim Richerson, president of the PGA of America. “It has become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminister would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand and would put at risk the PGA’s ability to deliver on many programs and sustain the longevity of our mission.”
PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh Says Playing at Trump Course Would Do ‘Existential Damage’ to Brand
Seth Waugh, the CEO of the PGA of America, defended the PGA’s decision to move the tournament.
“On Jan. 5, we were going to Bedminster,” Waugh said in a recent interview. “Then, obviously, a lot changed.”
“Everybody wants to make this a political move, but we got put into a political place that was not of our own making,” Waugh said in an interview. “My feeling was we could do existential damage to our brand by staying at Bedminster. If we stayed, the 2022 PGA would be about its ownership. People would think we were making a statement by staying there. I felt like we could do permanent damage to the brand if we stayed. As did the board.”
Nicklaus was not convinced by this reasoning.
“Seth didn’t need this job,” Nicklaus told Fire Pit Collective. “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.”
Trump Disappointed with the political Decision
A spokesperson for The Trump Organization told ABC News it is “incredibly disappointed” with the decision.
“This is a breach of a binding contract, and they have no right to terminate the agreement,” the spokesperson 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.”
The PGA eventually reached a settlement with the Trump organization in December of 2021.
“The Trump Organization’s contribution to the golf community is appreciated,” a statement released by the PGA said. “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. As stated in 2014 when announced, Trump Bedminster 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.”
The details of the settlement remain confidential but Eric Trump, Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization, concluded the matter by saying that, “We have great respect for the work of the PGA. … We look forward to continuing to support the mission of the PGA and its Professionals, who are the best in the golf industry.”
What do you make of Nicklaus’ comments regarding the PGA deciding to move the Championship from the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.?