United States election officials say ‘unprecedented’ spread of misinformation has eroded trust in voting system.
The Professional Golfers’ Association of America cut ties to President Donald Trump when it voted on Sunday to take the PGA Championship event away from his New Jersey golf course next year.
The vote comes four days after the Trump-fuelled riot at the nation’s Capitol as Congress was certifying the election victory of President-elect Joe Biden.
It was the second time in five years the PGA of America removed one of its events from a Trump course.
PGA President Jim Richerson said the board voted to exercise its right to “terminate the agreement” with Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making,” Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America, said.
“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 PGA of America, which has some 29,000 golf professionals who mostly teach the game, signed the deal with Trump National in 2014.
It cancelled the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in 2015 at Trump National Los Angeles Golf Club after Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants when he announced he was seeking the Republican nomination for president.
The event was cancelled for good the following spring.
The shocking insurrection on Wednesday rattled the country, and in golf circles attention quickly focused on whether the PGA of America would keep its premier championship – and one of golf’s four major championships – at Trump’s course in 2022.
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 organisation 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.”
Waugh declined to say whether the PGA of America expected any legal challenges from the Trump Organization.