Donald Trumps’ Impact on The 2017 US Women’s Open
In a country that is heavily divided ideologically with controversy surrounding much of the most recent election, it’s hard to imagine how any of that would have to do with golf.
If you are following the upcoming LPGA schedule, then you may already know that the 2017 Women’s U.S. Open is set to take place at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. This golf course was given the honor of hosting this event when Donald Trump was simply referred to as a business mogul and reality TV host. He is now the 45th President of the United States, having been sworn in on January 20th, 2017.
The Background: A political campaign like no other
For those of you who didn’t follow the political scene, Donald Trump’s campaign was somewhat entertaining, a bit scandalous and quite heated. He is one of the few Republican candidates who called out other Republican presidential contenders on their lies, policy failures and even on their lack of energy (Jeb Bush) in campaigning. His tagline, “Make America Great Again” won over many Americans who seemed fed up with the typical elitist politicians on both sides who failed to deliver on their promises.
Once Trump won the primary and gained the Republican nomination, the real mudslinging began against Democrat, Hillary Clinton. Close to election day, footage of him speaking to host Billy Bush and referring to women in a very crude way surfaced to the media. His use of derogatory terms to describe women put Trump in the line of fire on both sides; some even calling for Trump to drop out and let his VP nomination, Mike Pence, step in.
However, Trump did not back out and he amazingly beat the odds against his critics and opposition to win the United States Presidency.
Now after all of this, the question I pose to you is:
Should the LPGA have moved the Women’s U.S. Open based upon Trump’s views and antics during this election campaign?
I have been able to get feedback from people who are both sides of the spectrum. There are some who feel as though Trump was vilified in the media as sexist, while others think his lack of respect to the female gender is enough to not support him in any way.
To be fair, let’s look at both sides of the argument for you to draw your own conclusion in this debate.
Trump: A man ahead of the times
As long as Trump has been building the Manhattan skyline with towering skyscrapers, so has he been employing and empowering females in leadership roles.
During the construction of the new famous Trump Tower, he placed a woman named Barbara Res in charge of its development. She recalled her time working with Trump, and even referred to him as “killer.”
During their time together, she never forgot his words to her, “men are better than women, but a good woman is better than 10 good men.” Res went on to say that Trump placed women in powerful roles when no other man had dared to do so. He took a chance on them, and he didn’t regret his decision in employing them for these high level jobs.
Trump has said on his employment of women, “I was way ahead of the curve…I hired a lot of women for top jobs, and they’re among my best people.”
Trump: A sexist and polarizing figure
On the other side of the argument, Trump’s words have truly resonated with those who find him degrading and isolating.
Over the years, he has shared his views on the opposite sex and they do not mirror those of a man who would empower driven females.
In 1994, Trump was interviewed by ABC News where he talked about his ‘old school’ views on the female role. “I think that putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing. Unfortunately, after they’re a star, the fun is over for me. It’s like a creation process. It’s almost like creating a building. It’s pretty sad.”
In the same interview he also stated that while he doesn’t want to sound chauvinistic, but “if he comes home and dinner is not on the table he goes through the roof.”
While this isn’t the worst of Trump’s words, it still is enough for some to believe that Trump isn’t a champion for women (regardless of his history of employing them).
Trump has also created in much controversy in wanting to create a wall between Mexico and the United States, as he continues to push his campaign as “America first.” He also warns of a more “isolated and protectionist path ahead” for the country. Trump says that wants to focus on building a better America by investing more infrastructure and its development rather than issues outside of the U.S. borders.
So how does golf factor into this?
If you look at the LPGA’s top five female golfers, not one of them is from the United States:
Will these players feel welcome in playing in the U.S., especially on a course that is named and built by the current Commander-in-Chief, Donald Trump?
If you read about the history on professional women golfers, you will see that women have worked hard to get accepted in the game and to be seen as equals among the men. Is playing on Trump’s course seen as a step back for women, or as a way of moving forward and not letting his words deter the spirit of this new generation women players?
Where it stands now
The Women’s U.S. Open is still set to play at the Trump National Golf Course. Some American players have spoken out in showing their support of that decision.
Professional golfer and friend of Trump, Cristie Kerr, has stated, “Nobody treats the LPGA better than Donald.” While #9 ranked golfer, Brittany Lang simply said, “To keep it there.”
In contrast, Jodi Shadoff from England has stated, “On principle, I feel it’s just not right.”
While LPGA hasn’t made an official remark on the event, the LPGA commissioner did put it out there that “the players want big crowds and big TV. The last thing that they want is to make a political statement that affects their opportunities.”
The Women’s U.S. Open is scheduled to take place on July 13th – 16th, 2017. Be sure to mark it on your calendars, as it will be a big event for all the players involved.
In my opinion, this was a decision that was made long before Trump ran for President. It wasn’t a political move by the LPGA, but one to give the players an opportunity to showcase their abilities in front of a large and well-known arena.
Trump has been a love him/hate him figure long before he threw his hat into the Presidential race. If he was as controversial as he is displayed, I am sure the LPGA wouldn’t have considered his course in the first place.
To move this tournament would only draw an unnecessary light to politics into a place where it doesn’t need to be involved. The move would look political, and probably unnecessarily divide an already divided audience even more. The U.S. Open is about the golfers, not politics. If we let the words of Trump break the spirits of women by moving this event in protest, then how far have women really come in this lifetime?
Regardless of the history of this golf course, I hope that this tournament isn’t shrouded in politics, with the focus being on our elected government officials. Golf is an event of class and grace that these female players exemplify. They have all have worked so hard to play at this level; to turn our attention to anything that isn’t golf related is unfair to them and to the game of golf. After all, isn’t one good woman golfer better than 10 male golfers? I think even that Donald Trump would agree with that.
PLEASE FILL OUT THE POLL & COMMENT
… I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
Do you think the LPGA made the right decision to keep it there?
What would you have done if you were in charge?
Will the LPGA get positive or negative feedback from their choice?
I look forward to your thoughts – just remember, be nice. ☺
Cohen, Claire. “Donald Trump sexism tracker: Every offensive comment in one place.” 20 January, 2017. The Telegraph 21 January, 2017.
Romine, Brentley. “2017 U.S. Women’s Open remains set for Trump National Golf Club.” 16 November, 2016. Golfweek 20 January, 2017.
Stellar, Frances Stead. “Donald Trump – A champion of women? His female employees think so.” 24 November, 2015. The Washington Post 20 January, 2017.
Witte, Griff. “After Trump pledges, “America first” the world responds with protest and dismay.” 20 January, 2017. The Washington Post 21 January, 2017.
An aerial view of Trump National Golf Club – Bedminster, NJ.