GOLF has always had a bit of a habit of shooting itself in the foot. In fact, the stick and ba’ game has suffered so many self-inflicted wounds down the years, I’m convinced the Royal & Ancient clubhouse itself has developed a limp in its foundations.

In these thoroughly wretched times, everyday existence at the moment seems to be accompanied by a constant, downbeat droning sound akin to a herd of cows mooing a sad chord progression en route to the abattoir.

Issues and incidents in the golfing world over the last week or so have done little to raise the morale. A day after President Trump had incited a deadly insurrection, Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam gleefully visited the White House to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Tone deaf? Out of touch? Shamelessly self-serving? Call it what you want, it was, lamentably, another crushing dunt to golf’s wider reputation. Images, meanwhile, of Trump – a brazen cheat in a game that demands integrity and respect - regularly seeking sanctuary on the golf course, while his nation was going to a political and pandemic-induced hell in a caddie cart, will continue to be viewed as a grisly plook on the game’s complexion.

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At least golf’s administrators have acted swiftly amid the on-going tumult. The PGA of America yesterday decided to strip the Trump National course in Bedminster of the 2022 US PGA Championship. It would, as they said, be “detrimental to the PGA of America brand”. Perhaps Sorenstam, Player, Jack Nicklaus and golf’s other Trump trumpeters, of which there are many, should have adopted similarly decisive distancing during such an incendiary period?

Closer to home, the old chestnut of Turnberry continues to crop up whenever Trump and championship golf collides and the R&A top brass acted rapidly too yesterday regarding The Open as well as the Women's Open and the various amateur showpieces it runs. “We will not return until convinced the focus will be on the championship, the players and the course itself and we do not believe that is achievable in the current circumstances,” read a statement that was a canny exercise in public relations that Celtic could only dream of replicating.

It wasn’t just a box-ticking statement though. It was the most telling declaration against Trump by golf’s governing body yet. While the organisers of The Open have always maintained that Turnberry remains on the pool of venues, Martin Slumbers, the R&A’s chief executive, would take a diplomatic stance. At the start of 2020, for instance, he suggested that, “I’m sure we’ll see an Open there in the not-too-distant future”, which was a polite way of saying “not on your bloomin’ nelly as long as that madcap’s name is on the clubhouse door.” After years of playing the straight bat, the R&A finally hit Trump for six yesterday.

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When Trump was running for President a few years ago, Slumbers’ R&A predecessor, Peter Dawson, declared that, “it would be ludicrous if something said on the Presidential campaign trail dictated where an Open is held.” That observation has not aged particularly well has it?

The enchanting Ailsa course, that magnificent haven of legends and landmarks, of the Duel in the Sun of ‘77 and Tom Watson’s age-defying heroics in 2009, has been, by and large, a no-go area since Trump got his hands on it.

One of the most sigh-inducing days this correspondent has had at an event – and no, I’m not referring to the time there was no press lunch at the Amateur Championship – was the opening round of the Women’s British Open at Turnberry in 2015 when Trump turned the entire day into a helicopter-birling, self-obsessed circus.

The ghastly farce unfolded not long after Trump had made his outlandish comments about Mexicans as his campaign became more volatile and divisive. Poor Lizette Salas, the daughter of Mexican immigrants who had spoken with quiet dignity on the eve of the championship about Trump’s inflammatory rant, was encircled by cameras and microphones in an elbowing, barging scrum after signing for her card and faced barking, salivating questions like ‘is he a racist?’ instead of ‘what club did you hit into the seventh?’ It was all spectacularly unedifying and regrettable on the first day of a women’s major championship.

HeraldScotland:

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Nearly six years on and Trump’s views on Mexicans, Muslims, women and indeed most sections of the general populace that golf has a hard enough job appealing to as it is, renders him and anything he owns completely out of bounds. The R&A, and others, know that only too well.

It’s a terrible shame, from a playing perspective, for the good people who work there and for local businesses, that the magical Ailsa course, wonderfully restored by Martin Ebert, has been plunged so deep into the long grass we’ve just about had to declare it lost as far as championship golf is concerned.

Until the Trump sign has been torn down and hurled into the crashing waves of the Firth of Clyde, no golf body is going to risk the toxicity that would come with a trip to Turnberry.

Trump’s torrid time in office is in its death throes. Golf’s power brokers are beginning to read the last rites on him too.