After leaving Trump property, PGA championship lands in Oklahoma

By Bill Pellington

The 2022 PGA Championship, which was withdrawn from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, days after a mob incited by then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in a riot that resulted in the deaths of five people, has been awarded to the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The PGA of America, which conducts the tournament, one of the four major men’s golf championships worldwide, announced the new site for the event Monday in a brief statement. The tournament will be played May 19-22 next year.

For many years, Trump had publicly lobbied each of golf’s governing bodies to bestow one of the sport’s featured championships to one of his golf courses. The Bedminster club hosted the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open, and his club in Virginia was the site of the 2017 Senior PGA Championship.

The PGA of America chose Trump Bedminster to host the 2022 championship in 2014, before Trump was a candidate for president. But on Jan. 10, the organization’s president, Jim Richerson, said in a video statement: “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’s ability to deliver our many programs, and sustain the longevity of our mission.”

The next day, the chief executive of the R&A, the organization that conducts the British Open, said its flagship event would not return to Trump Turnberry, a golf course in Scotland owned by Trump, for “the foreseeable future.” Turnberry, purchased by Trump seven years ago, has hosted the British Open, the oldest of golf’s four men’s majors, four times, most recently in 2009. It previously hosted the Women’s Open in 2015.

Robert Wood Johnson IV, the U.S. ambassador to Britain during the Trump administration, told multiple colleagues in February 2018 that he had been asked to see if the British government could help Turnberry host the British Open again, according to three people with knowledge of the episode. The British government said Johnson made no request regarding the British Open and Trump denied asking Johnson to press such a move.

While the resort was not scheduled to be the site of this year’s event, it was in consideration for the 2023 British Open.

“We will not return until we are convinced that the focus will be on the championship, the players and the course itself and we do not believe that is achievable in the current circumstances,” Martin Slumbers, the R&A chief executive, said.

Southern Hills has been the setting for four previous PGA Championships, the last in 2007 when Tiger Woods won the tournament. The course also hosted three U.S. Opens from 1958 to 2001. Moving the PGA Championship to Oklahoma also locates a men’s major in a noncoastal setting. This year’s U.S. Open will be contested near San Diego while the 2021 PGA Championship will be held on Kiawah Island along the South Carolina shoreline.

“Excited to return to SHCC for the fifth time,” the PGA of America wrote on its website Monday. “The course offers a tough-but-fair test for the strongest field in golf.”

Southern Hills was designed in 1936 but underwent an $11 million restoration led by noted golf course architect Gil Hanse two years ago.

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