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Eric Trump has shared his conviction that Turnberry will be restored to the Open rota, insisting: it deserves it back soon.

Trump was speaking to in Aberdeen during this week’s PGA Seniors Championship.

Turnberry was bought by the Trump Organisation in April 2014 and subsequently underwent a comprehensive renovation, reported to have cost around £200million.

The Ayrshire resort has staged golf’s oldest major on four occasions, most recently in 2009 when Stewart Cink lifted the Claret Jug.

However, it was struck from the Open rota following the US Capitol riots in January 2021, in which former US president Donald Trump was widely implicated.

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At last month’s Open Championship, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers reiterated the governing body’s position on taking the event back there, saying: “Until we’re confident that any coverage at Turnberry would be about golf, about the golf course and about the championship, we will not return any of our championships there.”

According to Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organisation, that’s a political decision, not a sporting one – but he is confident it will eventually change.

“Turnberry is considered to be, by far, the best course on the rota,” said the 39-year-old. “It just is. Everybody will tell you that. Gary Player came out pretty openly recently and said that it’s the best course anywhere.

“If the decision is political, which it appears it is, there’s not a damn thing in the world I can do about it. What I can do is have the greatest golf course on Earth. It’s always rated top-5 anywhere in the world. It’s been rated No.1 many times. That’s what I can control.

“When the tournament comes around and they want to do it, fantastic. We’ll be there with open arms. We’d love to do it.

“The R&A has invested a tremendous amount of time and money in that property. They put fibre-optic [cabling] under all the holes for all the TV cameras. They know the set-up better than anybody. They’ve been there at the table with us for every design change that we’ve made and they’ve been amazing in that regard.

“But again, the things that I can control are the quality of the property, keeping it the best anywhere in the world and putting hundreds of millions of dollars into it. Turnberry will have the Open back.

“Whether it’s today, or two years from now, or 15 years from it, time will tell but we’ll keep Turnberry very sharp, we’ll keep it incredibly polished and we’ll continue to safeguard a truly iconic asset that absolutely deserves the Open back and, frankly, deserves it back soon.

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Trump added that he and his family remain in dialogue with the R&A.

“Any time we do an improvement at Turnberry, we always like to run it past them and they’ve been really fantastic about doing that,” he said. “Like, hey, what do you think about this tee location, what do you think about this tweak to the green over here, what do you think about this bunker placement. We’ve had an amazing working relationship, mainly through Martin Ebert who’s our architect.

“I think the decision is more about the fact that, in the US, we’re a political family. My father was the 45th President of the United States. There’s no hiding that. There’s no running away from that. He’s vocal about a lot of things on our side of the pond that we need to be vocal about and that’s no different than any other politician.

“If, ultimately, that scares somebody and they’re not going to have a tournament at the greatest golf course it deserves to be at — look, we can separate the politics from golf. We can do that very, very well.”

Trump also articulated his belief that his father is under-appreciated by the golf industry at large.

“Frankly, I don’t think there’s been any person in golf history – who might not be a great player like Jack [Nicklaus] – who’s done for the game than my father.

“He came in and put hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into a game that, 20 years ago, was dying. He bought some of the best assets in the world and saved them, investing his own capital and, oftentimes, getting punched in the face while he did it from the purists.

“Turnberry was going down the tubes and he was willing to put £200million into saving an icon and he got flak for it from certain governing bodies. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense. My father has been a true champion of the game. He’s a historian of the game, he’s a lover of the game. It’s truly in his DNA.

“He’s put a lot of gasoline on golf in an incredibly positive way and I don’t think it’s been recognised in the way it should.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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