The second major professional golf tournament of the year, the PGA Championship, takes place this week at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, OK. It wasn't supposed to be that way.
Former President Donald Trump's Bedminster, NJ golf club originally was slated to be the venue - that is until the sport's governing organization decided it didn't want to be associated with someone who incited a riot at the U.S. Capitol in an effort to illegitimately retain the presidency.
It took only four days after the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection for the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) to decide it would not stage its 2022 signature tournament at the Trump course, even though it had not secured an alternate location.
According to a Golf Digest report, on the day that legendary players Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player were in the East Room of the White House for a ceremony, the leadership of the PGA met to consider how they should respond to "various constituencies, including advertisers, paying fans, TV viewers, broadcast partners, corporate sponsors — and the 29,000 men and women of the PGA of America.
Seth Waugh, the CEO of the PGA of America, said in a telephone interview with Politico at the time, “We’re fiduciaries for our members, for the game, for our mission and for our brand. And how do we best protect that? Our feeling was given the tragic events of Wednesday that we could no longer hold it at Bedminster. The damage could have been irreparable. The only real course of action was to leave.
“My feeling was we could do existential damage to our brand by staying at Bedminster. If we stayed, the 2022 PGA would be about its ownership. People would think we were making a statement by staying there. I felt like we could do permanent damage to the brand if we stayed. As did the board.”
On the evening of Sunday, Jan. 10, the PGA of America put out a one-sentence statement above the name of its president, Jim Richerson, the general manager of Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles: “The PGA of America Board of Directors voted tonight to exercise the right to terminate the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster.”
Trump's Turnberry, Scotland, course also was kicked out of the rotation to host any future British Open championships as a direct result of his actions leading up to and occurring on Jan. 6.