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PGA Tour Dumping Trump’s Florida Doral for Mexico with Tournament Move

The PGA is set to announce that it is moving the WGC-Cadillac Championship Tournament from its 53-year home at Trump’s Doral resort near Miami, Florida, to Mexico City next year.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is expected to make the announcement this week after Cadillac dropped its sponsorship for next year’s event. The tournament has had a home in South Florida since 1962 but with the loss of its chief sponsor, the PGA said it could not find a replacement to remain in Miami.

Florida’s tournament chairman, Butch Buchholz, told The Miami Herald that the PGA informed him of the move on Tuesday.

“I believe they are sincere when they said they didn’t want to leave an event with a 54 year history,” Buchholz said. “They’ve got an obligation to their board and they couldn’t find a sponsor so they had to move. They don’t have a choice. The PGA Tour didn’t have a choice, If you don’t have a sponsor what can you do?”

However, other sources said that the situation was more complicated than blaming the whole deal on Cadillac’s bow out.

Last year the PGA had already noted that Cadillac may not stick with its Miami sponsorship and had started looking for other sponsors, even to place the event elsewhere in Miami.

There is some suspicion that the PGA was the instigator of the move because of Trump’s political positions on illegal immigration. Then there is the fact that Mexico City sponsors may have just been willing to pony up more money to the organization, perhaps as much as $6 million more than what Cadillac and the city of Miami were willing to pay.

As to the politics of the move, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez hinted that the PGA had already been looking for a way to get the tournament out of Trump’s resort.

“There was a time when Donald Trump was kind of toxic, and maybe toxic to the PGA. They thought they may have difficulty in getting sponsors,” Gimenez told the Herald. “At the time, they thought Cadillac was going to pull out. By moving the venue, they thought it would be easier to get sponsors and raise more money.”

In hopes of keeping the tournament in Miami-Dade County, the mayor spearheaded a move to censure Trump for his stance against illegal immigrants breaking our immigration laws and personally returned a $15,000 donation to his re-election campaign donated by the New Yorker.

But it also appears that the move had to do with money, as well.

Gimenez claims that the PGA told the city to come up with $6 million or risk the tournament being moved to Mexico.

“It’s a question of money,” Gimenez added. “Cadillac was going to spend a certain amount. The people in Mexico are going to spend a certain amount. The gap, I guess, is $6 million.”

So far the PGA has not confirmed the mayor’s rumination about the political reasons behind the move. But as far as Trump is concerned it is all about his campaign for the White House.

“I just heard that the PGA Tour is taking their tournament out of Miami and moving it to Mexico,” Trump said on Fox News on Tuesday evening. “It’s at Doral … they used one of my places. They’re moving their tournament; it’s the Cadillac World Golf Championship. And Cadillac’s been a great sponsor, but they’re moving it to Mexico. They’re moving it to Mexico City which, by the way, I hope they have kidnapping insurance.”

“But they’re moving it to Mexico City. And I’m saying, you know, what’s going on here? It is so sad when you look at what’s going on with our country,” the real estate mogul said.

In a statement, Trump added:

“It is a sad day for Miami, the United States and the game of golf, to have the PGA Tour consider moving the World Golf Championships, which has been hosted in Miami for the last 55 years, to Mexico. No different than Nabisco, Carrier and so many other American companies, the PGA Tour has put profit ahead of thousands of American jobs, millions of dollars in revenue for local communities and charities and the enjoyment of hundreds of thousands of fans who make the tournament an annual tradition. This decision only further embodies the very reason I am running for President of the United States.”

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem released his own statement saying the following:

“Once it became apparent that we would not be able to secure sponsorship at levels that would sustain the event and help it grow at Trump National Doral, we began having serious discussions with Ricardo and Benjamin Salinas, who expressed strong interest in bringing a tournament to Mexico City to benefit golf and its development throughout Mexico.

“We greatly appreciate everything that Cadillac, Trump National Doral and Donald Trump have done for the tournament. Cadillac has been a tremendous sponsor and Donald has been a most gracious host since taking over the property in 2013. In particular, his commitment to renovating the golf course and the overall facility at Doral was especially appreciated by the PGA Tour and its members. The PGA Tour has had a wonderful history in greater Miami and at Trump National Doral and we remain interested in returning when the time is right.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com

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