News & Tours

Contrary to Trump's claims, R&A says its stance on avoiding Turnberry for Open hasn't changed

October 28, 2022

David Cannon

DORAL, Fla. — The R&A has rejected claims made by former President Donald Trump that the governing body is looking to take the Open Championship back to the Trump-owned Turnberry course in Scotland.

After the Thursday pro-am at LIV Golf’s team finale outside Miami, Trump told reporters "the Open wants to come back” to the 116-year-old Scottish course he has owned since 2014. Turnberry has been among 10 courses on the Open rota used by the R&A, which organizes the championship.

But after Trump took over the ownership, the R&A showed less interested in holding an Open there—the last time being 2009—and after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, the R&A’s chief executive, Martin Slumbers, said his organization “had no plans to stage any of our championships at Turnberry and will not do so in the foreseeable future. We will not return until we are convinced that 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.’’

Despite this, Trump said on Thursday, "I can tell you they want to come back. I think [the ongoing feud between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour] will have to be sorted out first. We did a big surgery [redesign] on Turnberry and it has gotten great reviews, even from people who hate me. They [the R&A] want the Open to go back.”

On Friday, when contacted by reporters, a spokesperson from the R&A said, “There is no change to our position on this.”

Turnberry, located in Ayrshire, Scotland, has hosted four Opens: 1977, won by Tom Watson; 1986, won by current LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman; 1994 (Nick Price); and 2009 (Stewart Cink). The 2009 edition was special because Cink famously defeated a then-59-year-old Watson in a playoff.

Trump bought the resort in 2014 and has spent hundreds of millions of dollars renovating the hotel and redesigning the course. The renovation was done by Martin Ebert in 2016.

Trump properties have played host to two LIV events among its eight-event inaugural series—at Bedminster in New Jersey in July and this week’s team finale at Trump National Doral. Doral’s Blue Monster course hosted a PGA Tour event from 1962 to 2016 and it was won by the likes of Norman, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. The tour left Trump’s Doral property in 2017 for a new venue and sponsor in Mexico.