So it’s day 2 of the Senior PGA Championship at Trump National
Washington DC Sterling, Virginia and, rather than talk about the course or who might win, the talk is about the name on the course. Several players are (not shocking) huge fans of Trump, and one (Fred Funk) got his delicate feelings hurt over a columnist who dared to ask him questions (he wears a Trump logo).
John Daly went full Team Trump mode and also took a few shots at the Clintons. Daly is popular but I’m sure he’ll implode on himself sooner than later (it’s always good for recovering alcoholics to drink “only beer”). And then he’ll start WDing from events (his track record of WDing from events he gets a sponsors exemption into is flat embarrassing), get into arguments, quit mid-round (another thing that he’s gotten a free pass on way too often) with anyone and everyone, and of course never accept responsibility (so spare me the personal responsibility lecture).
Exactly what you didn’t want to happen is happening. You don’t grow the game by turning off a large portion of the population especially during a marquee event. This is PR 101 stuff. And not for anything, but this is exactly what i said was going to happen.
It might be a good time to point out that the pipeline for the Senior…I mean Champions Tour isn’t exactly all that great if/when Daly goes on his next bender. Tiger isn’t going to play, and none of the younger players are going to play it (they are all breaking down physically). I’m not sure Mickelson is going to play (he strikes me as being someone with loftier aspirations). That will leave someone like Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar….zzzzzzzz and maybe some of the European Tour players chasing money. To borrow a slogan, Jack Nicklaus ain’t walking through that door again.
Which brings me back to the upcoming US Women’s Open at Trump National in New Jersey and my larger point about why exactly is it that the Women’s Open keeps getting contested at lesser courses (if you think a course that opened in 2004 is somehow better than Merion, Bethpage Black or Merion…go get your head examined). If the USGA is serious about elevating the US Women’s Open, I’d like to see them take the event to the bigger/high profile courses (which means that Opens should come with the “if you want the men’s open, you’re taking a women’s Open” rule).
In lieu of going to Trump’s course, why not (staying in the same general geographical area) go to Merion? With the concern about the course not being long enough for the men, it would be perfect for the women and allow them to play one of the truly classic courses in the country. Or hell, why not a Winged Foot or a Oak Hill? If you want public in the tri-state area, go to Bethpage Black!
Why isn’t Pebble Beach on the USGA rota for the women (it should be)? If Pebble wants to host the Open, they should want to host the Women’s Open as well. Again- why isn’t Bethpage Black a venue for the women? Or Shinnecock? Oakmont hosted the US Women’s open back in 2010. Throw Winged Foot, Olympic Club, Congressional, Medinah, and Torrey Pines into the mix and that’s a hell of a rota.
Or, you could take the tack of “we’re only going to public courses from now on” which makes some sense and a position I’m happy to defend. If you want to stay public, then Pinehurst #2 has to be on that list as well. And if you want to stay public AND go different, two words- Bandon Dunes (it’s on any golfer’s bucket list and has already hosted a US Amateur). If you look at the history of what courses have hosted the championship it doesn’t really compare to the men’s courses.
My point is this- the USGA should let the women play the same quality courses that the men play and don’t need to put them in a position where they’re going to be upstaged by a controversial figure (remember how the 1990 Mens PGA Championship went at Shoal Creek?). Even if you toss out the private clubs, you could have an unofficial rota made up entirely of public courses: Bandon Dunes (or Pacific Dunes), Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, TPC Harding Park, Bethpage Black, Pinehurst #2, Kiawah Island, Cog Hill #4, and Whistling Straits. Yes- it’s West Coast heavy which means you don’t have the constant threat of thunderstorms, and you can have a prime time east coast finish.
Any of these courses would be a far better shop window for the LPGA than what’s coming in July, and deep down, they know it.