• Donald Trump has launched his bid to be the next president of the USA 
  • He did so by characterising Mexican immigrants as ‘criminals and rapists’ 
  • He has invested time and money in golf and owns two Scottish courses 
  • One of his courses, Turnberry, is on the rota to hold The Open but the sport must distance itself from the toxic odour he is producing  

Derek Lawrenson for the Daily Mail

Mention the word trump to a classroom of giggling schoolchildren and they’ll probably hold their noses in anticipation of a bad smell. Which is roughly what the golfing authorities have been doing over the past week following the latest vile noises emitting from the person of the ugly American, Donald Trump.

Talk about a toxic odour. Trump launched his bid for the Republican nomination to be the next president, God help us, by characterising Mexican immigrants as ‘criminals, rapists and drug smugglers’. As you can imagine, swathes of corporate America have responded by dropping him like a stone. But what about golf, the sport where he has invested so much of his time and money?

When Trump the bully stepped forward to say he didn’t expect any response from the golf industry because ‘they know I’m right’, the four leading bodies in America were left with no choice but to stand up to him and issue an unprecedented joint statement.

Donald Trump, who has recently launched his bid to become the next president, has invested lots in golf

Donald Trump, who has recently launched his bid to become the next president, has invested lots in golf

Trump announced his bid to be president by characterising Mexican immigrants as 'criminals and rapists'

Trump announced his bid to be president by characterising Mexican immigrants as ‘criminals and rapists’

It read: ‘In response to Mr Trump’s comments about the golf industry ‘knowing he is right’ in regards to his recent statements about Mexican immigrants, we feel compelled to clarify those remarks do not reflect the views of our organizations. While the LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour and USGA do not usually comment on Presidential politics, Mr Trump’s comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf.’

An all-American squabble? If only. As we prepare for a fortnight’s celebration of the sport in its birthplace, with the Scottish Open this week and then The Open at St Andrews, it’s worth remembering that Trump owns one course near Aberdeen that’s down to host a future edition of the former, and another (Turnberry) that is on The Open rota.

It is hard to see how these venues could host either event any time soon. The Scottish Open is part-funded by the Scottish Executive. Even if the European Tour were foolhardy enough to think about going to Trump International, could you see it getting past the desk of the formidable First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon?

And then there’s Turnberry. In a recent interview for Fortune magazine, Trump criticised plans to make the game more inclusive, proclaiming: ‘Let golf be elitist. Let people work hard and aspire to some day be able to play golf. To afford to play it.’

Trump owns two golf courses in Scotland (he is pictured at one in Aberdeen), and both could host major events

Trump owns two golf courses in Scotland (he is pictured at one in Aberdeen), and both could host major events

Golf needs to distance itself from the man who claimed in an interview for Fortune magazine: 'Let golf be elitist'

Golf needs to distance itself from the man who claimed in an interview for Fortune magazine: ‘Let golf be elitist’

Over the past two years or so, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club have done a nice job in moving forward from being perceived as elitist and sexist for so many decades. So how could they even think of flying in the face of that progress by awarding their most prized jewel to a course owned by a man who clearly revels in being both prejudiced and elitist?

It’s unfortunate that the Ricoh Women’s British Open will be staged at Turnberry in three weeks. That decision was made long before Trump bought the place.

But that must be the last prestigious event staged on one of his courses for the foreseeable future. This is one bad smell that isn’t going away. 

The Ricoh Women's British Open will be staged at Turnberry - one of Trump's courses - in three weeks

The Ricoh Women’s British Open will be staged at Turnberry – one of Trump’s courses – in three weeks

It is unfortunate that such an event is at Trump's course, but it must be the last for the foreseeable future

It is unfortunate that such an event is at Trump’s course, but it must be the last for the foreseeable future

No wild cards or invitations are handed out to compete at The Open at St Andrews. Every place is earned. Which makes the total of 23 Englishmen who have made it through via the various qualification criteria to take their rightful spot at the Home of Golf next week a truly extraordinary one.

They comprise four amateurs and 19 professionals, and they have made it through from virtually all points on the world map, from Johannesburg to deepest Virginia, from Versailles to right on their own doorstep. 

They range from a three-time former champion in Sir Nick Faldo who won the event over these sacred links 25 years ago, to six players who will be treading the boards for the first time at the game’s showpiece event. From household names who will be among the favourites to win to one or two who will never know such a day in their lives again.

An impressive 23 Englishmen have qualified for The Open, including three-time former champion Nick Faldo

An impressive 23 Englishmen have qualified for The Open, including three-time former champion Nick Faldo

Not all of them came through the auspices of England Golf — the governing body for the amateur game — but enough of them did to emphasise what an excellent job the organisation is doing in identifying talents from a young age and providing an opportunity for them to blossom. Unsung the work may largely be, but one look down the entry list next week will bring its own reward. 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK 

‘I had it all on call today. I had full control over all the clubs, and could shape the ball left and right. It’s the best I’ve hit it in a very long time.’

Tiger Woods, speaking after recording his first bogey-free round for two years on Sunday at the Greenbrier Classic. The 39-year-old, who won two of his three Open titles at St Andrews, will now head to the Home of Golf next week with something approaching a spring in his stride.

Tiger Woods hit his first bogey-free round of golf for two years at the Greenbrier Classic on Sunday

Tiger Woods hit his first bogey-free round of golf for two years at the Greenbrier Classic on Sunday

Following the round, Woods told reporters: 'I had it all on call today. I had full control over all the clubs'

Following the round, Woods told reporters: ‘I had it all on call today. I had full control over all the clubs’

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