The PGA of America made it official on Thursday morning: Donald Trump now has his first major golf championship. The announcement that the 2022 PGA Championship would be held at Trump National Bedminster was made at Trump Tower in New York, with PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua and President Ted Bishop also presiding over the ceremony.
Trump has aggressively moved into golf over the last 15 years or so but this announcement is a bit of validation for someone considered by many to be a carnival barking clown. Geoff Shackelford broke the news Wednesday afternoon over on Golf Digest, and noted that the PGA, and not the U.S. Open, coming to Bedminster is a bit of a surprise. The Trump Bedminster outlet is located right near the New Jersey USGA headquarters in Far Hills and will host a U.S. Women's Open in 2017. That will not be a showcase for the men's national championship as the PGA has stepped in to get their crown title on the rota in 2022.
Shackelford reported that the USGA seems more intrigued by the recently opened Trump Ferry Point, a public track in New York City. That would fit well with the USGA's strategy of trying to hit as many public spots that are suitable for their major, with regulars like Pinehurst and Pebble Beach always in the rotation and true (read: actually affordable) public layouts like Bethpage Black and Torrey Pines now getting regular run. Erin Hills and Chambers Bay are two other new public courses on the upcoming U.S. Open schedule, and now Trump Ferry Point may join them.
Under Bishop, the PGA of America has been just as aggressive as Trump trying to differentiate and make headlines in golf. He's one of the leaders behind the TaylorMade "Hack Golf" movement, which includes experimenting with 15-inch cups and illegal drivers, and he's also a big supporter of the new dalliance with FootGolf. At the end of last year, the PGA, along with the PGA Tour and its Players Championship, announced they were pushing their purse to $10 million, making those two titles the largest cash games of the season, significantly ahead of the Masters, U.S. Open, and British Open. He also went outside the box in naming Tom Watson his Ryder Cup captain for this year's competition in Scotland.
Bishop's willingness to try different things is a welcome change from the typically traditional and stuffy approach you get at the USGA. He's good for the game. Whether Trump is good for golf is a different matter. It was quite the week for Donald, who got that first major championship just days after news of his purchase of historic Scottish course Turnberry. With that acquisition, this PGA announcement, and USGA interest, we could potentially see all three rotating majors have a Trump property on the schedule real soon, as Shackelford also pointed out earlier in the week.
That an old rich guy, who's a blustering buffoon and has spent a lot of time shouting about the President's birth certificate, now sits in such a prominent spot in the sport is probably not great PR for the overall approach of inclusiveness and growth of the game. It's good for the most exclusive and elite courses and resorts, some of which were in danger of being lost. But in toto, having Trump as a new major face of golf doesn't seem desirable for the larger masses the sport is trying to attract. Here's the power-tied Trump gleaming at today's announcement:
In addition to the 2022 PGA Championship, the Trump National Club outside of DC on the Potomac River will also get the 2017 Senior PGA Championship.
Here's a look at all the future venues for the season's final major, with 2020 and 2021 still undetermined.
|2014||Valhalla Golf Club||Louisville, Kentucky||1996, 2000|
|2015||Whistling Straits||Kohler, Wisconsin||2004, 2010|
|2016||Baltusrol Golf Club||Springfield Township, New Jersey||2005|
|2017||Quail Hollow Club||Charlotte, North Carolina||Never|
|2018||Bellerive Country Club||Town and Country, Missouri||1992|
|2019||Bethpage Black Course||Farmingdale, New York||Never|
|2022||Trump National Golf Club||Bedminster, New Jersey||Never|
The 2016 and 2020 spots are most intriguing, as the PGA will have to alter its typical August date with golf now a part of the Rio Olympics in 2016 and potentially beyond. In 2016, the new date should be in late July. After that, the thinking is that a late winter or early spring date may be the choice, and Bishop has even said the organization is open to hosting their title abroad.