DAHLBERG: Time for golf powers to stand up to Donald Trump
Donald Trump loves Mexicans, he really does.
Not the ones he believes cross the borders to rape women and threaten our national security. Trump made it clear again on national television Wednesday night that people south of the border were still his prime suspects when it comes to that sort of behavior.
"Somebody is doing the raping," he insisted in yet another bizarre interview.
No, Trump loves the Mexicans who work for him. You know, the ones who make sure the grass at golf courses they could never afford to play is trimmed properly. The ones who are on the job long before dawn to carefully rake all the sand traps, cut the greens and get the clubhouse ready.
The ones who allow him to mingle with the stars of the PGA tour while adding even more millions to his bank account.
"I have Mexicans and South Americans working for me all over the country and believe me, they love me and I love them," Trump said this week on Golf Channel. "I think they're great. I've had great support and I haven't heard one negative thing and frankly I don't expect to."
That apparently is enough to satisfy the people who run golf in the country he wants to be president of. They love Trump, too, gleefully signing deal after deal with the developer of high-end golf courses.
They even brought him in last September as a special guest when Tom Watson announced his captain's picks for the Ryder Cup in New York, albeit to mixed reviews.
Yet while NBC was dropping Trump and other businesses were severing their ties with the bombastic developer for his remarks about Mexicans, the powers of golf were conspicuously silent. While others were taking on Trump over his racist comments, they were out playing the back nine.
It wasn't until the winds blowing their way got too strong to ignore that they came up with a joint statement carefully crafted so they could hide behind it until things blow over.
No, they didn't announce they would move the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which will be held at Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles in October. Didn't take away the PGA Championship scheduled for another Trump course for 2022 or declare the U.S. Open off limits for any of his courses in the future.
Didn't even address the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump's Doral resort in Miami. The telecast of that tournament on CBS this year was a virtual Trump-fest, with shots of Trump and his hair flying everywhere.
But taking a stand like that would have taken some backbone that the people at the LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour and USGA apparently don't have. It might have cost them some money, something they never seem to think they have enough of.
Let singer Ricky Martin move his charity golf tournament from a Trump course in Puerto Rico in protest. Those running golf are content to issue a two-sentence statement saying Trump's comments are "inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf."
Take that, Mr. Trump. And make sure the cocktails are properly chilled when we get to Los Angeles.
Empty words coming from empty suits who run a game that historically has struggled with racial issues and constantly panders to the elite.
The only way to get their attention might be if Masters and U.S. Open winner Jordan Spieth refuses to play in the Grand Slam of Golf if it is on a Trump course. Or perhaps Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will declare they're out at the Doral tournament unless Trump backs off his comments about Mexican immigrants.
Otherwise, it seems like business as usual in the insular world of golf, a place where minorities have long been made to feel uncomfortable.
Trump can do without "The Celebrity Apprentice," a fading show that served his all-consuming desire for self-aggrandizement. He doesn't need Macy's to sell his shirts and ties — and can do without selling Trump mattresses for Serta, the latest to drop him.
When it comes to golf, though, it goes straight to his very being. Like many he's consumed by the game and, in Trump's case, also consumed by his place in it.
Trump wants a U.S. Open on one of his courses about as badly as he wants to become president. He wants to be considered the major player in golf.
Take that away, and maybe he'll come to his senses.
Better yet, maybe he'll do us all a favor and finally shut his mouth.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg