• 'We don't have any decisions to make on Turnberry for some time'
• Ayrshire resort has hosted championship on four occasions
THE R&A | OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
The R&A has, for the first time, directly addressed the controversy surrounding recent remarks made by Donald Trump, hinting that the American’s well-publicised comments about Mexicans would NOT result in Turnberry being struck from the Open rota.
There has been some speculation that the Ayrshire resort, purchased by Trump in April 2014, could be dropped as a host venue for the championship after what the US tycoon and presidential candidate said about Mexican immigrants last month.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” said Trump, below. "They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
He later added: “I’ve had tremendous support from the golf world, because they all know I’m right.”
In a joint statement, however, the PGA Tour, USGA, PGA of America and LPGA distanced themselves from those remarks, with some events scheduled to be played at Trump-owned properties, including the 2015 Grand Slam of Golf, moved elsewhere.
Until today, the R&A had largely kept its powder dry on the prospect of Turnberry being scrubbed from the rota in the fall-out from the controversy. However, speaking on the eve of this week’s Open Championship at St Andrews, Peter Dawson, the outgoing chief executive of the R&A, appeared to allay those concerns.
Asked if his organisation has ‘a problem’ or is ‘compromised’ by Trump’s comments, Dawson said: “We don’t have any decisions to make about Turnberry for quite some time and I think we’ll just let a bit of time pass and future championship committees will deal with them at the time.”
Tellingly, Peter Unsworth, the chairman of the championship committee had earlier answered a question on the subject of Royal Porthcawl in Wales being added to the rota, by saying: “We’re very happy with the number of courses on the rota at the moment.”
Trump Turnberry, as it is now known, has staged the Open on four occasions, most recently in 2009 when Stewart Cink defeated five-time champion Tom Watson in a play-off to win his first major title.
The venues for the next three Opens after this year have already been confirmed. It is going back to Royal Troon next year for the first time since 2004, with Royal Birkdale playing host in 2017 and Carnoustie doing the honours in 2018.
It is widely expected, although unconfirmed, that Royal Portrush will make its eagerly anticipated return to the rota in 2019. With St Andrews likely to stage the 150th Open in 2021, the door would appear to be ajar for a return to Turnberry in 2020.
Should the R&A take the Open back to Trump Turnberry?
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