Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, a golf resort developer who has railed against Mexico in the 2016 campaign, lost an important golf tournament to that country on Wednesday when the PGA Tour said it would leave his Trump Doral course in Miami.
Although the PGA Tour said it was not a political decision, Trump said in a statement the move was akin to decisions by some U.S. companies to move jobs to Mexico, which has been a refrain of his presidential campaign.
“The PGA Tour has put profit ahead of thousands of American jobs, millions of dollars in revenue for local communities and charities and the enjoyment of hundreds of thousands of fans who make the tournament an annual tradition,” he said. “This decision only further embodies the very reason I am running for president of the United States.”
The PGA said the World Golf Championship event would move from Trump National Doral to a site in Mexico City and be sponsored by the Grupo Salinas conglomerate.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said the move was necessary “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.”
“From a golf standpoint, we have no issues with Donald Trump. From a political standpoint, we are neutral. The PGA Tour has never been involved or cares to be involved in presidential politics,” Finchem told a news conference in Dublin, Ohio.
Cadillac has been the title sponsor for the event in recent years including this year’s tournament in March. Cadillac representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump’s son Eric Trump said Cadillac had been willing to continue.
“Cadillac is ready, willing and able to continue as title sponsor for the tournament,” he told Reuters. “And I also can say that Cadillac is an amazing company and a longtime partner to the Trump Organization and we have an impeccable relationship.”
The Doral tournament is one of the biggest pro golf events of the year, drawing top golfers from around the world competing for a $6 million purse. The Doral course has hosted a PGA tournament since 1962.
Trump, whose golf empire includes 18 courses, purchased the golf resort in 2012 and led a $250 million renovation of its Blue Monster course where the PGA tournament has been played.
The news about Doral surfaced on the same day that Trump announced he would step away from the campaign trail later this month to travel to Scotland for the reopening of the Turnberry golf resort, which he bought in 2014.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Bill Trott and Peter Cooney)