It doesn’t sound like Donald Trump’s golf course, Trump International Golf Links, will be hosting the Scottish Open.
Even the staunchest supporter of Donald Trump has to acknowledge that disassociating from one’s businesses and divesting into a blind trust was the order of the day prior to Donald Trump’s election.
Even the most right wing supporter of Donald Trump has to acknowledge the conflict of interest that arises when professional golf tournaments are held at his courses.
Donald Trump’s Many Golf Courses:
Thus, under the administration of any other president in American history, the idea of contesting the Scottish Open at his golf course would have been off the table for two reasons. One, obviously, no other president has owned a golf course. And two: The traditional safeguards against corruption would have created a Chinese wall against again such activity.
Perhaps you don’t like this and think President Trump ought to be able to profit freely while in office. Fair enough. Ultimately, the USGA was of that mind in deciding not to move the U.S Women’s Open away from Trump National.
However, the title sponsor of the Scottish Open is of a different mind. Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Scottish Open sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management told reporters:
“Politics aside, Trump (International Golf Links) would be an ideal venue but you can’t put politics aside. That is the issue so we will wait and see.”
The problem isn’t the course, it’s the course’s owner, and Gilbert isn’t keen for the spectacle of the sitting president appearing at the tournament as course owner/honored guest.
“Trump (International), I don’t need to tell you, is a great golf course, but there are issues if we went there. The worst thing would be if he came. No decision has been made, but, look, there are clear issues, shall we say.”
During a 2015 visit to Trump International, Trump promised the Scottish Open would soon be held at his venue. It will be interesting to see if he lobbies for hosting duties in the wake of Gilbert’s remarks. While it’s a different situation as no commitment has been made, the pressure Trump put on the USGA suggests he won’t be keen to have his course removed from consideration.
The British Women’s Open was held at Trump Turnberry in 2014. Trump lost the WGC event at his Doral resort, but the USGA declined to move the U.S. Women’s Open from Trump National Bedminster.
The Scottish Open/Trump International represents the first time one of Trump’s courses has come up for consideration since he took office in January.