President Trump profiting from professional golf is both good and bad

Boredom Spieth
Boredom Spieth
Boredom Spieth
Contributor

“It’s the greatest marketing in the world,” Eric Trump, son of the president of the United States, executive at the Trump Organization, said regarding the Senior PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club.

He made the statement to The Washington Post without any indication of being bothered by the complication and conflict on interest engendered by the President of the United States profiting from a PGA event.

Trump ignored calls to divest of his business interests and place his companies in a blind trust. The President’s attorneys indicated during the campaign that Trump wouldn’t use public office for private gain.

“This course is going to get TV time. It’s going to get status. The world’s best players are going to be playing there on national television,” said golf marketing expert Andrew Wood. In other words, beyond the hefty payout that comes with hosting an event, Trump National will bank goodwill going forward.

Trump and company plowed $25 million into the Virginia golf course in hopes of landing a championship. That, and his patient courting of the PGA of America, eventually earned him the Senior PGA.

Despite controversy, the PGA of America (like the USGA with the Women’s Open at Trump Bedminster) has ignored calls to move the event.

“The PGA of America is not a political organization. Our association with the Trump organization is strictly as a developer of golf facilities,” a spokesman wrote the Washington Post in an emailed statement.

Ranking Trump’s Golf Courses:

It’s clear Trump has a pipeline to the PGA, talking to PGA of America chief executive, Pete Bevacqua, multiple times since the election and even golfing with Bevacqua in Florida, according to Golf.com.

Now, the old “using public office for private gain” standpoint, all of this is a massive violation. Indeed, how could it be otherwise? For international corruption indexes, Trump courses hosting major championships isn’t a good thing.

But for the game of golf? Well, that’s a bit more complicated. Having an avid golfer in the White House, who owns golf courses, who has footed the bill for tournament sponsors, who sponsors a dozen players on Tour…are these bad things?

The short answer is, “no.” Unless the Trump brand should become too toxic as to turn away fans in droves. The hard truth is: Exposure and cash infusions are critical to the future of the game. An interesting irony for liberal golfers everywhere.

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