POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

U.S. Women’s Open Championship held at Trump’s Bedminster course despite strong opposition

By Brenda Flanagan
Senior Correspondent

It drizzled on Donald Trump’s Bedminster Golf Club today as a political tempest buffeted women golfers playing at the U.S. Open Tournament, their female presence viewed by some as inappropriate, given the President’s sub par reputation with women’s rights groups. Critics point to examples like Trumps comments in the Access Hollywood tape as a reason for women not to golf here.

“They are sending the exact wrong message to the women golfers and to their fans and to the rest of the country about what they stand for by hosting a tournament at a course named after a racist, sexist, serial sexual abuser,” said Co-Founder of Ultraviolet, Shaunna Thomas.

Ultraviolet plans to protest here with slogans like: “Take a Mulligan. Dump Trump.” Far Hills resident Dolly von Hollen says she understands their objections to the tournament, especially after watching Trump frankly appraise the physical appearance of France’s first lady.

“I do think it’s unfortunate, particularly given the comments just yesterday about the French president’s wife and what good shape she’s in. And it does seem pretty incongruous to have it here, of all places,” said von Hollen.

Protesters will gather here at the township library parking lot this weekend to condemn both Trump and the USGA. The association booked this venue long before Trump was even elected and USA Today reports that he threatened to sue them when the Golf Association tried to back out of the deal.

The president plans to spend this weekend at his Bedminster Club, grabbing a major chunk of media attention to the possible chagrin of at least one player. Brittany Lincicome told Golfweek, “I don’t have anything against the President. I’m not political. Him showing or not showing isn’t a big deal. I wanted it to be more about us and not flip the limelight to him. It’s our biggest week of the year.”

Local golf fans appreciate the tournament.

“I don’t think it’s a problem. They have to play someplace and they picked this a long time ago,” said Basking Ridge resident Dick O’Malley.

“I think it’s good to have people express their views and also to attract business to this area also,” said Bedminster resident Victor Martinez.

The USGA defended its decision to hold the tournament here, stating, “… We make decisions about where to play based, first and foremost, on the quality of the golf course, as well as the competition, fan experience, and overall operations … we hope you’ll help us promote the championship and these incredible women vying for the most coveted prize in women’s golf.”

A field of 156 women will play in the tournament, competing for a purse of $5 million and for a share of the president’s spotlight.