I'm very happy to be at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open starting Thursday where the controversies will extend to who should have won the daily photo caption contest and whether Keith Pelley will sport the red or blue frames.
But reading these two extreme takes from the U.S. Women's Open press sessions at Trump Bedminster has me agreeing with neither writer and wishing there was a more reasonable middle ground.
Steve Eubanks in Global Golf Post says the questions of USGA officials and players explains why "they hate us" (us being the media).
Every player and official who came in for interviews on Tuesday was hit with the same battery of questions. Do you think this championship should have been moved because of President Trump’s statements about women? What do you think of President Trump? Is it appropriate that our women’s national championship is held at a Trump property? Do you think the president should stay away from this event? One reporter even asked a couple of players and USGA officials what their position was on sexual assault.
And writing a column about it!
Besides filing a column asking the President to stay away from the U.S. Women's Open, Christine Brennan of USA Today pressed the USGA on its sexual assault policy in a lingering-aftermath question tied to President Trump's infamous Access Hollywood tape.
But when you’re in business with Donald Trump, the man who appeared on the infamous Access Hollywood videotape bragging that he could sexually assault women without having to worry about the ramifications, your values start to fade.
Your principles waver. Your admirable efforts to try to attract women and girls to a game with a long history of discriminatory and exclusionary practices run head-long into your need to prostrate yourself at Trump’s feet.
And so, in what was a truly remarkable moment in sports news conference lore, three supposed leaders of the USGA sat dumbfounded, unable to utter even one word against sexual assault, while the fourth, a spokeswoman, said the foursome was there to talk about “the golf competition,” but would be happy to discuss the “important question …afterwards.”
Afterwards turned into one hour, then two. Finally, nearly three hours later, a spokesman emailed this to me:
“The USGA has a longstanding policy on harassment. This policy governs not only the conduct of our employees, but safeguards staff, players and fans at all USGA events. Our Staff Code of Conduct prohibits any workplace harassment, including but not limited to, sexual harassment or sexual assault.”
While I'm sure few can agree that a few of the questions were within reason given the public interest in President Trump, but trying to pin the USGA down on sexual assault seems strong too.
I do think we can agree in the humor of learning this from Eubanks:
The Washington Post and Politico have an entire front row of seats in the media center. The former never sends more than one reporter to this event (if any) and the latter (according to officials on site) has never covered a women’s golf event.
**Karen Crouse of the New York Times presents a more level-headed examination of the many issues colliding at Trump Bedminster.
In his life before politics as a real estate mogul, Trump practiced inclusivity, inviting players, including Kerr, to his courses for informal rounds during which he dispensed business advice. For a few years, he hosted the players at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., during the L.P.G.A. Tour’s season-ending ADT Championship at Trump International Golf Club. In 2006, the tournament became the first women’s event to offer a $1 million first-place prize.
The staunch supporter of women’s golf — and her own career — is the Trump that Kerr knows. She said she did not recognize or condone the behavior of the commander in chief who posts on Twitter disparaging comments about women and who has been accused of harassing women.