PGA Pulling Tournament From Donald Trump's Doral Golf Course, Moving It to Mexico City
The PGA is pulling its annual event out of the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort, according to multiple reports and even Donald Trump himself. The World Golf Championship may wind up in, of all places, Mexico City.
Trump, the presumed Republican presidential candidate, actually broke the news himself last night during an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.
"I mean, I just heard that the PGA Tour is taking their tournament out of Miami and moving it to Mexico as an example," Trump said. "They're moving their tournament. It's the Cadillac World Golf Championship. And Cadillac has been a great sponsor, but they're moving it to Mexico. They're moving it to Mexico City, which, by the way, I hope they have kidnapping insurance, but they're moving it to Mexico City. And I'm saying, you know, what's going on here? It is so sad when you look at what's going on with our country."
Update: It's official. The PGA announced today the event will move to Mexico City in 2017 and will be renamed the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
"Since the debut of the World Golf Championships in 1999, the intent has always been to conduct these tournaments around the world,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement. “Once it became apparent that 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 World Golf Championships.
"Donald has been a most gracious host since taking over the property in 2013," he added. "In particular, his commitment to renovating the golf 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."
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The move is particularly politically ironic given that Trump has made several controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants.
But before you make your "Well, maybe the revenues can help Mexico pay for that wall" jokes on Twitter, let's back up.
The PGA has previously announced it was concerned about some of Trump's rhetoric.
"We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf," read a PGA statement from December. "The PGA Tour has had a 53-year commitment to the Doral community, the greater Miami area and the charities that have benefited from the tournament. Given this commitment, we are moving forward with holding the 2016 event at the Blue Monster. Immediately after the completion of the 2016 tournament, we will explore all options regarding the event's future."
Cadillac, which has previously sponsored the event, has chosen not to renew that deal. A clause in the contract between the PGA and the course states the event can be relocated if a new sponsor is brought in. The indication seems to be that a new sponsor could not be found that wanted to hold the event at Trump's course in Doral.
From 1962 to 2006, the PGA held its annual Doral Open at the resort's Blue Monster course. In 2007, the event was upped to PGA-WGS status.
Speculation that the 53-year-old tradition could come to an end has been ongoing for months. In one interview, Trump stated that he wouldn't mind and that he could make more money from the resort without hosting a tournament.
According to financial information released by his campaign, the Doral resort is currently the Trump organization's single most profitable business.
We'll have more on this story as it develops.
Update: Doral City Councilwoman Sandra Ruiz now blames mayor Luigi Borgia for giving Trump a key to the city.
"I believe we could have prevented this move had our Mayor not handled this situation so poorly, by giving Trump a key to our City despite widespread community opposition and not condemning his remarks, Mayor Boria has made it clear, that as Mayor of Doral he stands behind Donald Trump's divisive words — and the PGA has responded in kind by leaving our city," Ruiz said in a statement. "As Councilwoman, I am requesting a meeting with the PGA and I will continue to do everything I can to let the PGA and the international business community know that Doral is a welcoming city, that is worthy of international investment.”