DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Donald Trump is losing business to Mexico — a prestigious golf tournament at his resort at Doral.
The tournament chairman of the former Cadillac Championship, one of the four World Golf Championships that attract the best players in the world, said the PGA Tour has informed him the event is leaving next year for Mexico City.
Trump said Tuesday night in a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity that he had just heard the PGA Tour was taking the tournament out of the Miami area.
“They’re moving it to Mexico City, which, by the way, I hope they have kidnapping insurance,” the presumptive Republican nominee added.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem was on his way to Ohio for the Memorial and was expected to discuss the change Wednesday afternoon.
Trump criticized the tour in a statement Wednesday, calling it a “sad day for Miami, the United States and the game of golf” to leave Doral after 54 years and go to Mexico.
“No different than Nabisco, Carrier and so many other American companies, the PGA Tour has put profit ahead of thousands of American jobs, millions of dollars in revenue for local communities and charities and the enjoyment of hundreds of thousands of fans who make the tournament an annual tradition,” Trump said. “This decision only further embodies the very reason I am running for president of the United States.”
Butch Buchholz, brought in last year as the tournament chairman to help promote the event, told the Miami Herald that the tour is leaving for Mexico because it couldn’t find a title sponsor. Cadillac’s sponsorship ended this year, and it chose not to renew.
The tour has spent a year trying to find a replacement, and it became more difficult as Trump gained notoriety with his caustic comments during his presidential campaign. That began with Trump’s announcement that he was running, when he said Mexico was sending its unwanted people to the United States, and that in many cases they were “criminals, drug dealers, rapists.”
Trump purchased Doral in 2012 and poured $250 million into renovations. He also brought in Gil Hanse, the architect chosen to design the Olympic course in Rio, to redo the course long known as the “Blue Monster.”
The tour signed a deal with Doral through 2023, though there was a provision in the contract that a new title sponsor had the option to move it elsewhere.
After Trump’s comments about Mexico, golf quickly distanced itself from him, though not entirely.
The PGA of America canceled its Grand Slam of Golf that was scheduled for Trump’s course in Los Angeles last fall, and golf organizations stood behind a statement that said Trump’s comments were not consistent with golf’s commitment to be diverse and welcoming.
But the U.S. Women’s Open and the Senior PGA Championship next year are still scheduled for Trump properties, as is the 2022 PGA Championship.
Doral has been the longest-running PGA Tour event in Florida, dating to 1962. The Cadillac Championship had been at Doral since 2007 was one of the WGCs that originally moved around the world. It was played in Spain, Ireland and England until 2007, when all the WGCs moved to America. Now there is one in Shanghai.
Doral had been a regular PGA Tour event before that.
The PGA Tour already has one tournament in Mexico in the fall, the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, held at a beach resort south of Cancun.
The tour has had problems in Mexico City in the past. When a PGA Tour Champions event was held there in 2003, six players were robbed at gunpoint in a restaurant, and thieves got away with expensive watches. No one was hurt.