The PGA of America announced on Sunday that it no longer plans to host the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.
The announcement came in the wake of an attempted insurrection on January 6 in Washington, D.C. by armed extremist supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump, which resulted in the deaths of six people, including two Capitol police officers.
"It has become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand and would put at risk the PGA of America’s ability to deliver our many programs and sustain the longevity of our mission," said PGA president Jim Richerson in the organization's official video statement. "Our board has thus made the decision to exercise our right to terminate the contract to hold the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster.”
A tweet from GOLF Magazine's Alan Shipnuck, who broke the news Sunday evening, suggested that Southern Hills Golf Club in Tulsa, Okla., and Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J., were being considered as replacement hosts, as well as Shoal Creek Golf Club in Birmingham, Ala.
Just spoke to a key source close to the '22 PGA. They say it's a done deal that it will be moved from Trump Bedminister but the PGA is waiting until post-inauguration to announce. Southern Hills/Liberty National are the top contenders as a landing spot. Shoal Creek making a push.— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) January 10, 2021
This is not the first time one of golf's governing bodies has distanced itself from Trump. Following racist comments about Mexican immigrants that kicked off his 2016 presidential campaign, the PGA Tour moved a World Golf Championship event away from Doral, bought by Trump in 2013, to Mexico City.
Across the Atlantic, the Royal & Ancient, which administers The Open Championship, reportedly has the position that it will not bring its flagship event back to Turnberry as long as Trump remains its owner, even in the wake of a renovation effort that raised the resort's famed Ailsa Course above several in the Open rota in the esteem of many golfers and writers.
Thankfully, there are dozens of worthy golf courses that could step in and host what may well be the first PGA Championship with a full complement of fans after the COVID-19 pandemic finally subsides. Aside from those mentioned by Shipnuck, here are three suggestions I have for alternate 2022 PGA Championship hosts.
TPC Harding Park
Yes, I know Harding Park hosted the PGA just this year, and that the tournament was a thriller, with Collin Morikawa surging ahead of Dustin Johnson with a 70th-hole eagle. But the week was something of a letdown for a city with strong golf DNA, whose citizens had been looking forward to seeing the best golfers in the world play on their beloved municipal home turf. The golf world deserves to hear some roars echo through Harding Park's massive cypress trees.
Royal Melbourne Golf Club
Lacking a clear and distinct identity from the other majors ever since it transitioned away from match play in 1958, the PGA would make a strong statement about golf's appeal as a global game by hosting its flagship event outside of the United States on occasion. Though it's somewhat short by modern standards, Royal Melbourne was a gracious and fascinating host of the 2019 Presidents Cup, and any excuse to see it again on the world stage is a good one. Timing might be too tight to make the logistics work (not to mention the uncertainty of post-COVID international travel ramp-up), but a golfer can dream.
The first course at the PGA of America's new Texas HQ is reportedly ready to go. It was shaped and grassed last year, but is taking all of 2021 and some of 2022 to mature. It just so happens that the planned opening of the courses is right around '22 PGA Championship time. It's kismet. Frisco's first turn hosting the PGA is currently penciled in for 2027 on the Gil Hanse-designed East Course, but why not seize the opportunity to make a big splash next year? There's a little risk involved in letting pros be the first to play, but PGA CEO Seth Waugh's investment-banking background suggests he's good at turning risk into reward.
Other golf course news and notes
STATE SUPREME COURT TO HEAR GOLF COURSE CASE - The golf course at Moundbuilders Country Club, which dates to 1933, is routed over and around several systems of ceremonial earthworks built by local indigenous peoples some 2,000 years ago. They have been called "the pre-eminent examples, and the largest concentration in the world, of prehistoric monumental landscape architecture" by World Heritage Ohio. A state nonprofit group is suing to buy the club's lease - which has 57 years remaining - through eminent domain in a case that has been escalated to the state's highest judicial body. [LINK: InsideHook]
NEW IN NEW ZEALAND - It's not as famous as the North Island locations of Kauri Cluffs, Cape Kidnappers or Tara Iti, but the South Island town of Queenstown, overlooking spectacular Lake Wakatipu, is a solid inland golf destination in New Zealand. Home to acclaimed courses Jack's Point, The Hills Golf Club and the notably quirky Arrowtown Golf Club, the area will soon welcome a new upscale development, Gibbston Valley. New Zealand's spectacular interior scenery may be enough to entice international golfers away from the coast. [LINK: stuff.co.nz]
HISTORIC COURSE FOR SALE - No, it's not a Donald Ross design, as its overseers have long claimed. Lake Wales (Fla.) Country Club was actually laid out by Seth Raynor, a decade after he designed adjacent Mountain Lake, one of Florida's finest golf courses. LWCC has fallen on hard times, and is up for auction in February. It has nice bones but would require a few million bucks to restore that Raynor shine. If you've ever wanted the thrill of buying a golf course online, now's your chance. [LINK: Bullseye Auctions]
BANDON-ADJACENT - Bandon Crossings is the sneaky-strong off-resort course beloved of Bandon Dunes caddies and locals alike, designed by native Oregonian Dan Hixson. It's welcoming a new head pro this year, who seeks to take the course to a new level of notoriety. [LINK: Bandon Western World]
GOLF-ADJACENT - Thousands of rotting fish, evidently poisoned by a chlorine leak into their pond on the property of a long-gone Florida golf course, produced a stench that burned locals' throats and even caused an asthma attack. [LINK: ClickOrlando.com]