Embeded in the Monday announcement that the Royal and Ancient (the governing body of golf overseas) had awarded the 2020 Open Championship to Royal St. George’s, was an equally significant story about future Open venues and new U.S. President Donald Trump.
The R & A commented through Chief Executive Martin Slumbers that Trump’s recent election to the Presidency will not cost famed Turnberry it’s spot in the current Open rotation. “I said last year we were focused on Turnberry as a golf course and there has been nothing that has happened in the last year to change that,” Slumbers told the media. “I think it’s very important that we’re clear about what our business is, which is making sure that the Open Championship is one of the world’s greatest sporting events, and staying out of politics.”
This is in contrast to the PGA Tour which moved quickly to take away it’s WGC event from then-Presidential candidate Trump owned Doral Country Club in Miami, after his strong political stances on immigration last year. They moved that event to Mexico City, where it will be staged for the first time next week.
Trump’s election was controversial (to say the least) and he took office last month. which has created a firestorm of criticism and a calls for boycotts in the U.S. He purchased Turnberry in 2014 for a reported $60 million.
Turnberry has not hosted an Open Championship since Stewart Cink won a dramatic playoff over then, 59 year old Tom Watson in 2009. The R & A has only currently awarded the Open to venues through the year 2020. It’s expected that famed St. Andrews will officially become the site in 2021 Open, which will be the 150th playing. Turnberry should follow sometime soon after that.
Meanwhile, as Royal St. George’s got the good news officially Monday, it will be it’s first Open since Darren Clarke’s emotional 2011 major victory and their 15th time hosting. It’s also the first awarding for the club since it voted in March of 2015 to allow female members for the first time, something the R & A is now requiring for venue consideration.