It’s Women’s U.S. Open week, and I so badly want to enjoy just watching the women play golf and to not have to think about President Donald Trump. But that’s impossible, because every time they go back to play after a commercial break, the announcers say, “Welcome back to the Women’s U.S. Open at Trump National Golf Club.”
I can’t escape Trump. He’s everywhere: in my Facebook and Twitter feed, my Instagram stories, in texts from my mom. And now he’s invading the space of my favorite tournament, the U.S. Open.
So Trump has not only managed to ruin all my social media enjoyment, he’s also ruined my golf.
I am a former player on the LPGA and I have played in two U.S. Opens, and there is magic on the grounds of where U.S. Opens are held. When I think of Trump National, however, I think of the fact that a man who has made countless misogynistic and sexist comments, along with having been accused of sexual misconduct, harassment and assault by at least 15 individuals since the 1980’s is benefiting off the backs of women.
When I entered the world of sports writing, it was to share my passion for sports. Before then, I had tried my hand as a political reporter, but soon realized that politics drove me crazy. Now, I write about the political nature of sports and its societal implications.
Despite wanting to just enjoy golf and not talk about Trump though, it’s not possible. We have to talk about it because it is important, and I’ll be the first to jump on any opportunity to call him out. However, for the first time in a long time, I just want to see sports for what they are at its most basic level.
Through this tournament, a couple important revelations have taken place: women’s golf has zero to little support from corporations or men’s golf. Not a single sponsor of the Women’s U.S. Open threatened to pull out if the venue for the event was not changed. Not a single male golfer said, “Hey, it’s a damn shame that these women have to play at a golf course where the owner only views them as objects he can profit from.”
Not one person outside of women’s golf lifted a finger on behalf of the women.
Well, you might ask, why didn’t the women stand up and say something? Because they risk so much more in saying something. Being a woman in sports is hard enough. But being a woman in a sport rooted in white male supremacy? Who wants to deal with that?
Just a few days ago, LPGA player Brittany Lincicome was asked a simple question about how she would feel if Trump showed up to the tournament. In the most apolitical response ever, she told the Chicago Tribune, “Hopefully, maybe he doesn’t show up and it won’t be a big debacle and it will be about us and not him. I don’t know him. I have met him probably once. I think it will be fine. We’re going to play an amazing golf course and let our clubs do the talking.”
This is a golfer who wanted the attention to focus on the women playing, not on whether Trump was going to show up and take away the limelight from the ladies.
And what kind of response did she get? She got torn apart by Trumpsters and then by trainwreck golfer John Daly.
Tough to do things when ppl down 1 of my grt friends? Sorry-Some things shouldn't be said He has as a grt heart & has America 1st always! 🇺🇸 https://t.co/JqPofKdld8
Lincicome decided to step away from social media throughout the remainder of the tournament.
So when a simple statement forces a player, one who is arguably one of the nicest people on tour off Twitter, what kind of backlash do you think a player would receive for wanting to move events?
I’ve been following and covering this debacle for the last year, and could not get a single player to go on the record with me saying that they did not want to play at Trump’s course.
In private they told me that, yes, they wish the USGA could move venues. But these players understand what they’re risking by having an opinion that does not line up with Trump’s most loyal servants.
I think the reason why this tournament is so hard for me to watch this year is that it serves as a stark reminder that women are fighting battles on their own.
Sure, we have some male allies, but the force of our allies isn’t strong enough. Women are also having to come to terms with the fact that those they originally thought supported them, only do so when it’s convenient.
When we make statements defending ourselves against sexism, we’re called snowflakes or femi-nazis, because god forbid we don’t like it when our president goes on rants and raves about women’s looks on Twitter. And lord knows we don’t like it when we have a commander-in-chief who has defended sexual predators like Bill O’Reilly or Roger Ailes.
reiders: Should women of LPGA refuse to play golf at #DonaldTrump golf courses in wake of numerous sexual misconduct allegations? #pmjoy
But here we are, still fighting this fight. Here we are having to prove that our existence matters, and that we’re entitled to opinions and feelings without being torn apart. I so badly wanted to just enjoy this tournament for what it is, and be able to appreciate how hard the women worked to earn a place on the U.S. Open stage.
Then, I remember that Trump is reportedly going to hand the winner the trophy and it makes my stomach queasy, and I have to think to myself once more, “How did we let him happen?”
The USGA, PGA, and LPGA need to work together to ensure that the women who represent golf are treated fairly and supported against unwarranted attacks, and that they will make a promise to never hold a tournament at a Trump course again.
Will that happen? Who knows. But I’ll keep fighting till we’re heard.