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USGA, golfers staying clear of Donald Trump’s politics at U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National

Eric Trump speaks during a news conference previewing

Eric Trump speaks during a news conference previewing the U.S. Women's Open Championship golf tournament at Trump National Golf Club, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, in Bedminster, N.J. Credit: AP / Julio Cortez

BEDMINSTER, N.J. — The people who will run it and play in it say they view the upcoming U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster as strictly a golf tournament and not a political statement.

Mike Davis, the executive director of the U.S. Golf Association, and several top pros steered clear of commenting on President Donald Trump or his views on Wednesday during Preview Day for the championship, which will be held on his family-owned course July 13-16.

“We’re a golf organization. We’re simply not going to cross that line into politics,” Davis said during a news conference at which President Trump’s son, Eric Trump, was among the speakers and Donald Trump Jr. was in the audience. “I can appreciate that some people do. That’s what’s great about this country, that everyone has their own political views. We’re a golf association and we’re sticking to golf.”

The USGA is aware of the likelihood of protests from people offended by the remarks Trump made about women on what has become known as the “Access Hollywood tape.” Davis said that security precautions will be taken, as they are at all USGA championships.

“I’m certainly not going to get into specifics today about that, but listen, if we have protestors, that’s their right in this country,” he said. “What we’re focused on is making sure that those 156 players that are here can play . . . in an uninterrupted way.”

Cristie Kerr, the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open champion and a member at Trump National, said, “I try not to get involved in that stuff. I don’t know a human on Earth, though, who hasn’t said something they regret. But like I said, I try to stay out of that and just focus on the good in people.”

Kerr has played golf with President Trump, whom she got to know when the LPGA’s ADT Championship was played at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. “I’m not blowing smoke. He really is what he is,” she said. “He’ll let you know whether he likes you or not, he’ll let you know what he thinks. He was a huge supporter of women’s golf at a time when we really needed it. I’m not great friends with him. I would say I’m a casual acquaintance. He’s obviously the President of the United States now so he’s a busy man. I’m not a political person but I can just tell you what he’s done for women’s golf and he has been tremendous.”

Eric Trump told Davis, “Mike, I promise you this will be the best tournament you’ve ever had.”

Defending champion Brittany Lang said, “I think it’s going to be a great week. I know the USGA is going to put on a great event and I don’t see any problem.”

Lydia Ko, the top-ranked player in women’s golf, said, “I’m not really huge into politics. I’m going to focus on my golf. Golf is hard enough in itself rather than thinking about everything else that is going on around it. I think people are making it bigger than it really is.”

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