PGA Chief Executive Sandy Jones was interviewed by BBC Scotland on Wednesday morning and is reported as saying the ongoing controversy generated by Donald Trump is “not a positive thing for golf.”
The chief executive of the Professional Golfers’ Association says the ongoing controversy generated by Donald Trump is “not a positive thing for golf.”
Trump, who owns two Scottish courses, has been criticised for comments made during his bid to become the Republican Party’s US presidential candidate.
And Sandy Jones says the negative publicity around Trump is bad for golf.
“Sadly his political campaign in America seems to be getting in the way of all the great things golf offers.”
Jones says the PGA try to keep politics away from the sport, but Trump’s high profile and controversial views make that difficult.
“The controversy is not a positive thing for golf,” he told BBC Scotland.
“Donald has built some great golf courses and has two in Scotland, in Aberdeen and at Turnberry.
“I’d prefer to see less controversy around the game and sadly Donald is producing it through his political motive, not through his golfing ones. They are bound to be linked, there is no getting away from that.”
Trump has spoken of his desire to attract the Open Championship to Turnberry, with 2020 a possible date if, as expected, the R&A stage that tournament away from St Andrews, allowing the ‘Home of Golf’ to host the 150th championship the following year.
But Jones believes the R&A will need to manage the situation carefully.
“I’m sure the R&A will be managing that situation very cautiously as they need to do and try to keep golf away from the political scene.
“An announcement to play at Turnberry would cause a huge political uproar. I’m sure they’ll come to the right conclusion at the end of the day.”
BBC Scotland reports that former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley feels it would be a shame if Turnberry was removed from the list of potential Open venues.
“We’ve got great history there going back to ’77 with Nicklaus and Watson, and obviously Watson nearly winning a few years ago at the age of 60,” McGinley told BBC Scotland.
“Unfortunately it’s part of the modern world we live in now that sport and politics are very much blended in a lot of decision making.
“I don’t envy them (the R&A) having to make that decision. What would be a real shame is if Turnberry doesn’t happen to be on The Open rota because it’s a terrific golf course.”
McGinley – who captained Europe to a comprehensive victory in the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles – does not envisage players having any issues about playing at Turnberry despite the recent controversy surrounding Trump.
“I think they’ll be guided by the R&A. Whatever the R&A’s decision will be you’ll find the players will be behind that.
“If the R&A decide to have an Open Championship there I would be very comfortable playing – if I qualify.”