PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem denied that moving the World Golf Championship event, known as the Cadilac Championship, from Trump National Doral to Mexico City was politically motivated.
Finchem said on Wednesday that the decision to abandon Doral, host to a PGA Tour event for more than five decades, was strictly money motivated. “Some of the reaction revolves around the feeling that this is a political exercise and it is not that in any way, shape or form,” he said. “It is a sponsorship issue. We value dollars for our players. So we make decisions that are in the best interests of our players.”
GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump reacted to to the news by saying that the Tour needs to look into acquiring kidnapping insurance for the move. Asked to respond to Trumps suggestion, Finchem responded, “One of our people told us this morning that we already have kidnapping insurance. I haven’t inquired about the details, but I made a point that it’s something we might not want to advertise.”
Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis remarked that many of the PGA tour players are concerned about the security of playing in Mexico because of the significant crime and drug cartel issues. GC analyst Tim Rosaforte responded saying that there is talk of a charter plane to transport all 80 players in the field from the previous event at the Honda Classic to Mexico City for the tournament. “There they would be greeted with an armada of security and people there to protect them and not put them in a situation that would obviously cause great harm to players and officials.” He added that Mexico is trying to establish that it is a “safe country” and that people should “feel welcomed here.”
In July 2015 the PGA of America pulled the Grand Slam of Golf from Donald Trump’s course outside of Los Angeles because of Trump’s remark that many illegal Mexican immigrants crossing the nation’s southern border are criminals, drug dealers, and rapists. Ultimately, the event was canceled when the PGA couldn’t arrange a substitute venue to host the contest.
The new WGC venue has not been officially named, however, according to Golf Channel, Club de Golf Chapultapec near Mexico City will host the relocated competition.
Finchem stated that the PGA plans to bring another tournament to Doral “when the time is right,” adding, ”We greatly appreciate everything that Cadillac, Trump National Doral, and Donald Trump have done for the tournament.” Finchem went on to say that Trump’s “commitment to renovating the course and the Doral facility was especially appreciated by the Tour and its members.”
Conglomerate media and retail company Grupo Salinas, founded by Ricardo Salinas and his son, is slated to sponsor the Mexico City tournament. Golf.com reported, Salinas, estimated to be worth $8 billion, “was charged in 2005 by the Security & Exchange Commission in a complicated case of self-dealing in which he made a $109 million profit. In a settlement in which he didn’t admit guilt, Salinas paid a $7.5 million fine and was banned for five years from being the head of any U.S. listed company.”
Finchem claims that Salinas was fully vetted by the PGA and concluded that “given all the facts, it should not be something that would preclude us to do this particular transaction and all its elements.”