US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is blasting the PGA Tour for moving the 2017 World Golf Championship from his golf resort in Florida to Mexico due to a lack of sponsorship interest.
Trump purchased Doral in 2012 and renovated the golf course according to PGA rules and guidelines. The World Golf Championship held the tournament at Doral for the last 50 years.
Trump, who has previously stated his intention to build a wall on the Mexican-U.S. border, said that he hoped golfers have “kidnapping insurance”. The PGA said that its plan to move the tournament from Trump Doral was a business decision – not a political one. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem responded to Trump in a statement to the press:
As we anticipated, some of the reaction revolves around the feeling that somehow this is a political exercise, and it is not that in any way, shape or form. It is fundamentally a sponsorship issue. We are a conservative organization, we value dollars for our players, we have a strong sense of fiduciary responsibility, so we make decisions that are in the best interests of our players.
The PGA Tour was unable to find sponsors due to Trump’s toxic image in the media. And without the sponsorship levels needed to fund the event, the PGA Tour began talks with Ricardo and Benjamin Salinas, the owners of a large Mexican conglomerate who want to see golf develop throughout Mexico.
The billionaire real estate tycoon owns several golf courses around the world, bringing in billions of dollars every year. Many corporate sponsorships have been moving away from associating with Trump after his inflammatory remarks about Mexican immigrants and his repeated pledge to ban all Muslims – 1.6 billion members of an entire religion – from entering the U.S.