Donald Trump has claimed the R&A wants to end the Open Championship’s absence from Turnberry and the former US president has castigated the PGA Tour for failing to reach an agreement with the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Series.
Trump was speaking after he played in the pro-am for the final LIV event of the year at Doral in Miami which, like Turnberry, he owns. He said the famed Ailsa Links in Ayrshire, which last hosted the Open in 2009, has been a target for umpteen groups looking to stage tournaments.
“Everybody wants Turnberry but we are being a little bit careful with Turnberry,” said Trump. He was subsequently pressed on whether the Open could possibly return.
“They want to, I can tell you they want to come back,” he said. “The Open wants to come back. It is rated the No 1 course in Europe now. We did a big surgery and it has gotten great reviews, even from people who hate me. They want the Open to go back.”
This may well be news to the R&A. Five days after the attack on the US Capitol, the R&A’s chief executive, Martin Slumbers, issued a statement which said: “We had no plans to stage any of our championships at Turnberry and will not do so in the foreseeable future. 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.” The R&A has been approached for any updated comment.
Trump also took aim at the PGA Tour for its firm opposition to the LIV scheme. “The Tour mishandled it so badly,” said the 76-year-old. “The Tour, the people at the top, something should happen. They had an advantage of dealing with very good people with unlimited money. Something should have been worked out very easily and the Tour decided, as Richard Nixon said, to stonewall it. What the Tour did was bad for golf. They blew a great opportunity.”
Doral previously hosted both a PGA Tour competition and a World Golf Championship before the latter was switched to Mexico City. Trump was clearly relishing the return of big names to his venue. “It doesn’t need it because it is doing so well,” he insisted. “It has been a great success from day one. The Tour wants to be here badly. The players are in love with this place, they always have been.”