The PGA Tour has been going to Doral, Florida, for 55 straight years. From 1962 until 2006, it visited for the Doral Open, and then it began hosting the WGC-Cadillac Championship in 2007, which continued until this past year. That's 55 straight years of PGA Tour golf in Doral.
Well, we might have seen professional golf there for the last time -- at least in the immediate future -- when Adam Scott defeated Rory McIlroy and others at Trump National in March. That's because the PGA Tour has decided to pull one of its marquee events out of the course near Miami and move it to Mexico City for a WGC event in 2017.
WGC officials in Doral were told of the plans by the PGA Tour earlier this week, according to the Miami Herald.
Butch Buchholz, who ran the World Golf Championships at Trump National Doral, said the PGA informed him on Tuesday night that it made the decision to leave South Florida because it couldn't find a title sponsor to replace Cadillac.
The PGA Tour confirmed the news on Wednesday.
PGA Tour confirms WGC event is moving from Trump Doral to Mexico next year, ending Doral's run of hosting a Tour event that dates to 1962.— Will Gray (@WillGrayGC) June 1, 2016
The loudly unspoken component to all of this is one of the loudest components in the country right now, Donald Trump. The presumed Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential election has been the owner of this course where the WGC-Cadillac Championship was played for the last five years. He's poured millions into renovations, and he's very proud of his work.
Trump mentioned on Tuesday evening that the PGA Tour was moving away from Doral. You can see him talking about it on Fox News at the 6:20 mark here.
"I mean, I just heard that the PGA Tour is taking their tournament out of Miami and moving it to Mexico as an example," Trump said. "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."
What Trump didn't mention is that Cadillac's sponsorship of the tournament expired in 2016. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was looking for a new sponsor or a renewed sponsorship from Cadillac, and he might've had to move away from the inflammatory Trump -- and his stunning golf course -- in order to get it.
"Since the debut of the World Golf Championships in 1999, the intent has always been to conduct these tournaments around the world," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said on Wednesday.
He also denied that the move was a shot at Trump. "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 are very excited about this new opportunity and what it brings to the World Golf Championships.
"We greatly appreciate everything that Cadillac, Trump National Doral and Donald Trump have done for the tournament," Finchem said noting that the move is not in "any way, shape or form a political exercise."
He continued: "One of the difficulties with sponsorship here -- I know everybody is talking about politics, but it's actually not that, in my view. I think it's more Donald Trump is a brand, a big brand, and when you're asking a company to invest millions of dollars in branding a tournament and they're going to share that brand with the host, it's a difficult conversation.
"Cadillac has been a tremendous sponsor and Donald has been a most gracious host since taking over the property in 2013. 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."
Trump's camp reached out to CBS Sports to note that Cadillac was actually in talks with the PGA Tour until a few days ago to remain the title sponsor of the event specifically at Trump National Doral.
"Cadillac was ready, willing and able to continue as the title sponsor for the tournament," wrote Donald's son, Eric Trump, in an email. "Cadillac is a great American company [that] continues to be a fantastic partner to the Trump Organization."
Finchem's words aside, it is tough to characterize this as the PGA Tour not distancing itself from Trump (which will be a fascinating choice in retrospect if he becomes president). In doing so, the PGA Tour is also moving away from one of the staples on its circuit. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is definitely interesting.
You can't draw a straight line from Trump to the move to Mexico, but his remarks do not endear sponsorships from the big corporations Finchem is seeking. Given Eric Trump's statement above, maybe Finchem was just looking to move as far away from Trump as possible and had multiple suitors lined up to fund the event.
Of course, the irony of Trump wanting to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. and Finchem jumping over it with his $10 million golf purse is not lost on anyone, either.
Trump actually proposed that he would be all right with this earlier this year.
"So if they want to move it, that's up to them," Trump told Golfweek. "I think they would be foolish to want to move it, because it's the best course in Florida. It's the best tournament course in Florida by far, and it's a big course. It's got tremendous history. If you're going to play in Miami, we have massive numbers of rooms, the best location right next to the airport and we have The Blue Monster, which has gotten phenomenal reviews. It's a brand new course now. But if they did move it, I would make more money."
Sounds like a win-win to me. The PGA Tour got its sponsor and Trump gets more money, somehow.
Despite the claimed future financial windfall, Trump seemed disgruntled by the entire thing. He released an official statement on Wednesday and used the opportunity to further his presidential campaign, of course.
"It's 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."