Donald Trump golf course loses WGC event to Mexico City
Rory McIlroy: “It’s quite ironic we’re going to Mexico...We’ll just jump over the wall’
Reports indicate that a PGA Tour event that has been held at the Trump National Doral since 1961 is heading to Mexico City in 2017. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Donald Trump’s grip on golf has been significantly loosened, with the US PGA Tour confirming the first World Golf Championship event of the year will no longer be played at the US Republican presidential candidate’s Doral venue. The tournament, formerly the WGC-Cadillac Championship, will move to Mexico City from 2017.
Speaking on Fox News, Trump offered a typical response to the news. “I just heard the PGA Tour is taking their tournament out of Miami and moving it to Mexico,” he said. “They’re moving it to Mexico City which, by the way, I hope they have kidnapping insurance. They’re moving it to Mexico City and I’m saying: ‘What’s going on here?’ It is so sad when you look at what’s going on with our country.”
A statement from Trump read: “It is a sad day for Miami, the United States and the game of golf, to have the PGA Tour consider moving the WGC, which has been hosted in Miami for the last 55 years, to Mexico. The PGA Tour has put profit ahead of thousands of American jobs, millions of dollars in revenue for local communities and charities and the enjoyment of hundreds of thousands of fans who make the tournament an annual tradition. This decision only further embodies the very reason I am running for president of the United States.”
Asked about the move, Rory McIlroy said: “It’s quite ironic we’re going to Mexico after being at Doral. We’ll just jump over the wall.” The world No3 was referring to the wall Trump said he wants to build between Mexico and the US in a bid to curb illegal immigration.
The Grand Slam of Golf was moved from Trump National in Los Angeles in October, while the PGA Tour began considering alternative venues for the WGC after his call for a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the US.
Doral, which Trump bought in 2012 before overseeing a $250m redevelopment, has been a PGA Tour venue since 1962. The WGC, held each March, carried a most recent prize fund of $9.5m. Trump appeared at the closing day of this year’s tournament and held lengthy talks with the PGA Tour’s commissioner, Tim Finchem.
A contract had been in place to keep the championship in Miami until 2023 but within that stood a break clause should a new sponsor want a change of venue. Cadillac’s sponsorship ended this year and Grupo Salinas has agreed a seven-year deal to move the tournament to the Chapultepec resort on the outskirts of Mexico City.
Golf fans may appreciate the move; Trump’s outspoken remarks aside, there has been concern that three of the four WGC events take place in the United States.
Finchem said in a statement: “Since the debut of the WGC in 1999, the intent has always been to conduct these tournaments around the world. Once it became apparent we would not be able to secure sponsorship at levels that would sustain the event and help it grow at Trump National Doral, we began having serious discussions with Ricardo and Benjamin Salinas, who expressed strong interest in bringing a tournament to Mexico City to benefit golf and its development throughout Mexico. We are very excited about this new opportunity and what it brings to the WGC.
“We greatly appreciate everything that Cadillac, Trump National Doral and Donald Trump have done for the tournament. Cadillac has been a tremendous sponsor and Donald has been a most gracious host since taking over the property in 2013. In particular, his commitment to renovating the course and the overall facility at Doral was especially appreciated by the PGA Tour and its members. The PGA Tour has had a wonderful history in greater Miami and at Trump National Doral and we remain interested in returning when the time is right.”
In March, Trump had suggested he would make more money if the WGC was not hosted by Doral. Three months earlier, the PGA Tour responded after Trump made inflammatory remarks about Mexican immigrants and a potential ban on Muslims. “Mr Trump’s comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf,” the statement read.
“The PGA Tour has had a 55-year commitment to the Doral community, the greater Miami area and the charities that have benefited from the tournament. Immediately after the completion of the 2016 tournament, we will explore all options regarding the event’s future.”
Trump will arrive in Scotland on 24 June when his Turnberry hotel and golf course reopen after a £200m renovation. The R&A has been under pressure to remove Turnberry from the Open rota over controversy caused by Trump but has so far insisted it has no decision to make regarding the venue for the time being.