The U.S. Women's Open teed off in Bedminster, New Jersey, yesterday at Trump National Golf Club, as in President Donald Trump. There's been a controversy brewing essentially since 2015, when Trump announced he'd be running for president and began his racist/sexist/xenophobic climb up the polls. That controversy is now coming to a head: Trump just announced he will attend the second round of the LPGA championship later this afternoon when he returns from France.
It's a fairly safe bet that the LPGA and USGA are not too jazzed about this decision. This is, as Trump makes sure to note in his tweet, the women's golf event of the year, and it's being overshadowed by a rampant misogynist who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by multiple women over the decades and who once described his preferred method of sexual assault to Billy Bush on the set of Access Hollywood.
The USGA originally selected Trump National to host the major in 2012, a choice that became increasingly controversial after Trump announced he was running for president in 2015, but USGA executive director Mike Davis reportedly told other members of the organization that Trump threatened to sue if they moved the tournament. Public pressure grew louder in 2016 with the release of the Access Hollywood video. Three U.S. senators urged Davis to move the tournament writing, "This is about more than one video: it's about a pattern of degrading and dehumanizing women that has occurred over decades." Obviously, that didn't happen, with a threatened lawsuit likely playing a part in the decision.
So here we are. Donald Trump is a cloud hanging over the whole event and has been for some time; players were fielding questions about playing at a Trump course two weeks ago at the PGA Championship. The USGA and LPGA will not comment on playing the tournament on a Trump-owned property. When USA Today's Christine Brennan asked, "Does the USGA have a position on sexual assault?" at a news conference earlier this week, all four officials on the dais struggled to answer.
The golfers, meanwhile, are all channeling their inner Bill Belichick, and saying some variation of "I'm just here to talk about golf," or declining to comment at all. Perhaps they saw what happened to Brittany Lincicome, who said that she hoped the President wouldn't attend in an interview last month. The reaction was so intense that she had to take a break from Twitter.
"Hopefully maybe he doesn't show up and it won't be a big debacle and it will be about us and not him," she said. "I don't know him. I have met him probably once. I think it will be fine. We're going to play an amazing golf course and let our clubs do the talking."
Well, now the President is coming—and so are protesters with the anti-sexism group UltraViolet—and it will absolutely be a debacle because a Trump-induced shitshow is the only thing you can count on with this administration.