100K sign petition to move 2017 U.S. Women's Open from Trump golf course

Women's advocacy group doesn't want LPGA and USGA "to associate the sport with a racist, serial sexual abuser, who mocks people with disabilities."

By Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange
President-elect Donald Trump outside the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., on Nov. 19. A women's group has delivered a petition with 100,000 signatures seeking to move the 2017 Women's Open from Trump's New Jersey golf course. Aude Guerrucc/pool/UPI
President-elect Donald Trump outside the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., on Nov. 19. A women's group has delivered a petition with 100,000 signatures seeking to move the 2017 Women's Open from Trump's New Jersey golf course. Aude Guerrucc/pool/UPI | License Photo

March 6 (UPI) -- The national women's advocacy organization UltraViolet says more than 100,000 people have signed a petition calling on the United States Golf Association and the LPGA Tour to move the 2017 U.S. Women's Open from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.

The petition, addressed to U.S. Golf Association CEO Mike Davis and LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan, states that holding the tournament at Trump National will give millions of dollars in revenue, free advertising and branding to President Donald Trump.


"Golf is a sport that carries a long history of sexism, racism and mistreatment of those with disabilities," said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet. "Up until 1961, people of color were banned from participating in the PGA Tour, and the sport once banned Casey Martin, born with a leg birth defect, from using a golf cart.


"That's why it is so upsetting to see the USGA and LPGA continue to associate the sport with a racist, serial sexual abuser, who mocks people with disabilities. The USGA and LPGA need to send a clear signal to young golfers, including women, people of color and people with disabilities that it stands for inclusiveness, and move the upcoming U.S. Women's Open from Trump National Golf Course."

U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Dick Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a letter to Davis late last year asking that the tournament be moved because of comments Trump made during the presidential campaign, but the USGA and LPGA Tour have not budged.

The PGA Tour, under pressure, canceled the 2015 Grand Slam of Golf, which was scheduled for Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles.

The Tour also moved the WGC-Cadillac Championship from the Blue Monster Course at Trump National Doral in Miami to Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City, where it was played last week.

The 2017 U.S. Women's Open Tournament is scheduled for July 13-16.

The Jake, a fundraising tournament for the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation, set a record when it raised $2.9 million for charity to help children not only in South Florida, but around the country.


The event, played annually at The Bear's Club in Jupiter, Fla., surpassed the $2 million mark for the fourth consecutive year to help the Nicklaus Foundation support the Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami and its network of outpatient centers.

Andy North, who captured the U.S. Open in 1978 and 1985, led his team to victory in the pro-am event, combining with Marc Bibeau, Robert Bibeau, Dr. Ronald Denis and Maurice Pinsonneault for a tournament-record net score of 13-under-par 49.

Among the PGA Tour pros who competed in the event were Rickie Fowler, Daniel Berger, Keegan Bradley, Scott Brown, Jon Curran, Luke Donald, Jason Dufner, Ken Duke, Ernie Els, Lucas Glover, Branden Grace, David Hearn, Morgan Hoffmann, Smylie Kaufman, Brooks Koepka, Anirban Lahiri, Jamie Lovemark, Patrick Rodgers, Brendan Steele, Justin Thomas, Cameron Tringale and Camilo Villegas.

The Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation is the primary beneficiary of the Honda Classic, which was played later in the week on the Champion Course at nearby PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


Last year, the Honda Classic presented the Nicklaus Foundation a $1 million grant, the highest in the history of their partnership.

Simon Hobday of South Africa, considered one of the most colorful characters in golf history but also a fine player, died Thursday at the age of 76, it was announced by the Sunshine Tour in Pretoria, South Africa.

Hobday captured 17 professional titles in his career between 1969 and 1995.

"His passing is a massive loss to the game of golf in general, and in South Africa in particular," Sunshine Tour executive director Selwyn Nathan said. "He was a wonderful player and a larger-than-life character who gave everyone who played with him or watched him play a great deal of pleasure."

Hobday had a reputation as a carouser, practical joker and raconteur, which sometimes overshadowed the fact that he was considered one of the best ball-strikers of his era.

His notable victories came in the 1971 South African Open, the 1976 German Open and the 1979 Madrid Open on the European Tour. He also won six times on the Sunshine Tour.

After playing mostly in Europe and South Africa earlier, Hobday came to the United States after turning 50 and joined what was then the Senior PGA Tour, winning five times, including the 1994 U.S. Senior Open.


Gary Player, South Africa's greatest champion, wrote on Twitter: "My condolences to the charismatic & sweet swinging Simon Hobday. He was so good for golf. RIP amigo."

Henrik Stenson's first event of the year on the PGA Tour ended suddenly when he withdrew because of stomach problems after 11 holes of the first round in the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City.

The big Swede, who was No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking last week, started with birdies on his first two holes. However, things went sideways in a hurry, as he made three straight bogeys through No. 6, followed by a double bogey on the next hole.

Even though he followed with four straight pars, he was done, having played 11 holes in 3 over par.

There was a mini epidemic of stomach problems in the tournament, as Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland battled through them all week, and Bones Mackay, Phil Mickelson's caddie, had to leave the course after three holes in the second round because he was too weak to continue in the high altitude.


Mackay, who returned for the weekend rounds, was replaced by Tim Mickelson, Phil's brother and the former golf coach at Arizona State, who is the agent for rookie Jon Rahm of Spain.

Several other caddies reportedly had what was described as stomach flu.

The United States Golf Association and the R&A unveiled proposed new Rules of Golf as part of a joint initiative to modernize the sometimes-complicated regulations of the game and make them easier to understand and apply.

There will be a six-month period for golfers worldwide to learn about the proposed changes and provide input before they are finalized next year, and if approved, they would take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

The announcement follows a review process that began in 2012.

"We are excited and encouraged by the potential this work brings, both through the proposed new Rules and the opportunities to use technology to deliver them," said Thomas Pagel, senior director of Rules & Amateur Status for the USGA.

"We look forward to an ongoing conversation with golfers during the feedback period in the months ahead."

Said David Rickman, executive director of governance at the R&A: "Our aim is to make the Rules easier to understand and to apply for all golfers. We have looked at every Rule to try to find ways to make them more intuitive and straightforward, and we believe we have identified many significant improvements.


"It is important that the Rules continue to evolve and remain in tune with the way the modern game is played, but we have been careful not to change the game's longstanding principles and character."

Among the changes:

There will be no penalty for accidentally moving a ball on the putting green or in searching for a ball; and a player is not responsible for causing a ball to move unless it is "virtually certain" that he or she did so.

There will be no penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits an unattended flagstick in the hole; players may putt without having the flagstick attended or removed. Players may repair spike marks and other damage made by shoes, animal damage and other damage on the putting green, and there is no penalty for merely touching the line of putt.

Red- and yellow-marked penalty areas may cover areas of desert, jungle, lava rock, etc., in addition to areas of water; red penalty areas where lateral relief is allowed will be expanded; and there will be no penalty for moving loose impediments or touching the ground or water in a penalty area.

There will be no penalty for moving loose impediments in a bunker or for generally touching the sand with a hand or club. A limited set of restrictions (such as not grounding the club right next to the ball) is kept to preserve the challenge of playing from the sand; however, an extra relief option is added for an unplayable ball in a bunker, allowing the ball to be played from outside the bunker with a two-stroke penalty.


A player's "reasonable judgment" when estimating or measuring a spot, point, line, area or distance will be upheld, even if video evidence later shows it to be wrong; and the new regulations would eliminate the announcement procedures when lifting a ball to identify it or to see if it is damaged.

Reduced time for searching for a lost ball (from five minutes to three); affirmative encouragement of "ready golf" in stroke play; recommending that players take no more than 40 seconds to play a stroke and other changes are intended to help with pace of play.

There is a new procedure for taking relief by dropping a ball in and playing it from a specific relief area; and procedures are relaxed for dropping a ball, allowing the ball to be dropped from just above the ground or any growing thing or other object on the ground.

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