The Controversy Surrounding the U.S. Women’s Open
The name “Trump” and the word “politics” seem to go hand in hand like a golf club and dimpled ball.
Controversy continues to swell over whether the USGA should move the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open from Trump National in Bedminster, N.J., in light of Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about women.
Yet the USGA and LPGA are doing everything they can to keep the two separated. They insist their focus is going to be on golf and not politics.
That was the message delivered at Wednesday’s U.S. Women’s Open preview day at Trump National Golf Club, first by USGA executive director Mike Davis, then by LPGA Tour veteran Cristie Kerr.
“When we came here, this was all about coming to a great golf course and playing the greatest championship in women’s golf,” Davis said. “The USGA, since its founding in 1894, has never been involved with politics. Our focus is solely on the game of golf.”
This U.S. Women’s Open, scheduled for July 13-16, has threatened to create multiple sideshows since Donald Trump was elected president.
There’s little doubt that the USGA, along with LPGA players, are adamant on depoliticizing this summer’s U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National.
Despite the pressure from activist groups, those teeing it up in Bedminster want nothing to do with the matter.
In fact, it’s not even a locker room topic.
Only one player interviewed wanted the championship to be moved. Most felt politics shouldn’t impact what course they play.
“Everybody is focused on the event and the great place the USGA has set up,” Brittany Lang said. “It’s a hard enough tournament as it is to just focus on the golf.”
So, that’s fine. If they want to make it about only the sport, and nothing about the gender roles or politics involved, that’s a totally valid way to go.
Trump National has been ranked among the top 100 courses nationally by both Golf Digest and Golf magazines, so this course is ideal for the U.S. Women’s Open, if everyone can just get past their political frustrations towards the Trump administration.
Not that the players are blind to the controversy. “We’re all girls at heart,” Kerr said.
But they’re channeling that concentration into something they can control –being positive role models for today’s youth.
For the USGA, the situation is a bit more perplexing. The idea of a women’s tournament hosted by a man who was caught on tape making obscene sexist comments, is obviously less than desirable, but they don’t see a reason to move the tournament.
“We are simply not going to cross that line into politics,” Davis said. “We appreciate that there are some out there that want to make this a political event, but this is a golf event for the United States Golf Association.”
The USGA may not want to delve into the issue of politics, but women’s activist group UltraViolet has been adamant in its anti-Trump stance, collecting more than 100,000 signatures requesting they move the Women’s Open from Bedminster. However, their influence isn’t too strong. When UltraViolet tried to assemble a rally in Phoenix this year, less than a dozen individuals showed up.
Will they be able to get enough signatures? Only time will tell.
Nevertheless, less than two months out from the championship, the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open is already in the spotlight.
Politics are involved, whether golf wants them to be or not, but luckily, the players seem unconcerned and ready to focus solely on the game of golf.
Credits: USGA.com, LPGA.com