Further Review

Steve Hummer's Further Review blog offers comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports

Trump can't make Doral event great again


The decision to move a big tournament from Donald Trump’s Miami course to Mexico proves one thing: Karma is a long hitter, baby.

Relocating an event from a Trump property to a nation that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has employed as a hot-button issue is very sad for a place that has hosted a PGA Tour event since the early 1960s. And yet didn’t it also have the feel of Trump getting the ol’ cosmic noogie?

Rory McIlroy, the Irishman with no horse in the American presidential race, touched on that with smile when he mentioned possible travel plans to next year’s WGC-Mexico Championship: “We just jump over the wall."

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the move was “not a political exercise.” And, while we have been programmed to believe that all things are political, I am prone to in large part believe that.

For one thing, the idea of this particular organization conspiring against any Republican is inconceivable.

Have you ever been around a PGA Tour locker room? Good heavens, there are more conservatives in there than at the Fox News company picnic. A majority believe voting for Hillary Clinton is cause for a two-stroke penalty.

(In a Sports Illustrated anonymous players poll earlier this year, to the question of whether they’d vote for Clinton even if she would cut their taxes in half while the Republicans would keep them the same, 56 percent said no, 33 percent said yes and 11 percent didn’t weigh in on the hypothetical. In that same poll, the vote on whether the Tour should move the Doral tournament because of Trump, the vote went 45 percent no, 39 percent yes, 16 percent don’t care.)

Actually in this case, the tournament move had plenty to do with a concept that underpins everything Trump: Free enterprise.

As Matt Kuchar told the Golf Channel, “You gotta go where the sponsors are.” Cadillac bailed on Doral, no one else stepped up and world golf championship event actually went a little more global when a Mexican retail, television and telecommunications corporation bankrolled it.

Trump proclaimed the move “a sad day for Miami, the United States and the game of golf.”

He added a classic snarky Trump twist, “I hope they have kidnapping insurance.”

But much of the blame for this move can be found in Trump’s own mirror.

His cult of personality worked against him in this case. Finchem said as much: "I think it's more Donald Trump is a brand, a big brand, and when you're asking a company to invest millions of dollars in branding a tournament and they're going to share that brand with the host, it's a difficult conversation.”

Having saved Doral – excuse me, Trump National Doral –from the brink of bankruptcy in 2012, the real estate mogul backed a massive make-over of the course. As a result, the character of the place drastically changed. Players, especially those incapable of hitting the ball a mile, began carping about the place. Fewer were going to fight to save it on the schedule (although the Tour says it will try to find another event for Doral).

Last summer, Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas, blasted Trump for what he considered derogatory remarks about Mexican immigrants.

That guy owns the company which just yanked a big PGA Tour event from beneath Trump’s feet.

The universe has a peculiar and biting sense of humor.


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About the Author

Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.