Top-ranked Lydia Ko and other players dismissed concerns Wednesday about playing July’s US Women’s Open at US President Donald Trump’s course in Bedminster, New Jersey, in the wake of his controversial comments about women.
Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump organization, shrugged off politics when asked about his father’s comments about grabbing women improperly while appearing at Trump National Bedminster to promote the women’s major golf championship there July 13-16.
“We appreciate that there’s some out there that want to make this a political event, but we’re not,” Eric Trump said.
“We’re simply not going to cross that line into politics. We can appreciate that some people do and that’s what’s great about this country, that everybody has their own political views, but we’re a golf association and we’re sticking to golf.”
Protests are expected at the course during the tournament as Trump remarks about women have aroused anger in some corners, although US Golf Association executive director Mike Davis will leave such matters to police and security.
“If we have protestors, that’s their right in this country to protest,” Davis said. “What we’re focused on is making sure that those 156 players that are here can play on a golf course and really in an uninterrupted way.”
New Zealand’s Ko and other top LPGA players kept their focus on golf as well.
“For us, we’re trying to play the biggest major championship and we’re fortunate that we’re able to play at such an amazing golf course like here at Trump National,” Ko told New Jersey Advance media.
“The USGA, the LPGA and everybody, they always do a phenomenal job of hosting this event and organizing this event, so I think at the end of the day, we just have to trust them.”
US defending champion Brittany Lang added that she did not feel Trump’s association with the event would overshadow or distract from the tournament.
“I think it’s going to be a great week,” Lang said. “The USGA is going to put on a great event and I don’t think it’s going to be (a problem).”
American Cristie Kerr, the 2007 US Women’s Open champion who is a Trump National member and said she has played golf with President Trump, posted a selfie photo on Instagram with about two dozen junior golfers and, Advance Media reported, praised Trump’s efforts supporting women’s golf.
“I think the president has done a lot for women’s golf and this is not meant to be a political spectacle,” Kerr said. “This tournament really is about golf, like Mike Davis said. It’s about the next generation of women’s golfers and junior golfers.”
At the LPGA Founders Cup in March at Phoenix, Arizona, about a dozen protesters from the group UltraViolet objected to the US Women’s Open being staged at Trump Bedminster, a plane flying over the course with the banner “LPGA: Take a Mulligan. Dump Sexist Trump.”
“The USGA and LPGA need to send a clear signal to young golfers, including women, people of color and people with disabilities that it stands against Trump’s brand of hate and for an inclusive, strong future by moving the upcoming US Women’s Open from Trump National Golf Course,” UltraViolet co-founder Shaunna Thomas said.
The LPGA deferred to the USGA, which chose the Trump property, which also is slated to host a men’s major, the 2022 PGA Championship.
“The LPGA respects the freedom for individuals and organizations to express their own views,” the tour said in a statement. “As a global tour and membership, we try not to let politics get in the way of their opportunities.
“Regarding the US Women’s Open, the USGA — not the LPGA — owns and operates the event… When it comes to decisions regarding venue, purse, TV, etc., those are solely made by the USGA. We respect and support the decisions made by the USGA on this matter.”
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