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Ernie Els golf­ing with Don­ald Trump ... wrong on so many lev­els. Re­ally Ernie. Hav­ing lived through apartheid you felt the need to en­dorse Trump’s right-wing ex­trem­ist poli­cies by play­ing golf with your “friend, this amaz­ing busi­ness­man, and do­ing this was spe­cial.”?

When Ernie came un­der fire for this, his re­sponse:“Go eff your­selves.” I won­der what ac­tion, if any, the tours will take against Ernie? How will the sponsors of the SA Open re­act to Ernie as­so­ci­at­ing him­self with Trump?

All Ernie’s amaz­ing work on and off the golf course is be­ing tar­nished by his as­so­ci­a­tion with Trump, with­out ques­tion­ing Trump’s ac­tions.

It is a slap-in-the-face from the golf­ing world to the lib­er­als and pro­gres­sive among us. It adds to the stigma of golf be­ing re­garded as an elit­ist sport.While most top sports­men are protest­ing and crit­i­cis­ing Trump, golfers seem to be en­dors­ing him.This does noth­ing to take the game for­ward and ap­peal to a big­ger crowd.And it also goes against the PGA Tour who are do­ing ev­ery­thing to dis­tance them­selves from the new pres­i­dent by not us­ing Trump owned/as­so­ci­ated cour­ses and moving to other venues. Is­mail Jas­sat, Cen­tu­rion, Gaut­eng Trump be­ing a pas­sion­ate golfer, and owner of nu­mer­ous golf cour­ses, is go­ing to put the game in the spot­light dur­ing his pres­i­dency. None­the­less, it is sur­pris­ing how much heat has been di­rected at Els and Rory McIl­roy for play­ing golf with the Don­ald, com­pared to Tiger Woods, who was first in line in De­cem­ber.The re­al­ity is that most PGA Tour mem­bers like Trump and would have voted for him. Rich Amer­i­can golfers, men and women, are nearly all Repub­li­can in their po­lit­i­cal be­liefs.

But should non-Amer­i­can golfers, with no po­lit­i­cal al­le­giances, shun an in­vite to play with Trump? If you like the guy as a golf­ing buddy, and some­one in­ter­est­ing to chat to, why would you? Els was not el­i­gi­ble to vote in the US elec­tion, yet he has no gripes about Trump and en­joys the fact he is “a proper golfer”. He may or may not be com­fort­able with Trump’s poli­cies, but it is no crime to have al­ter­nate views about the world to­day, and Els is no hyp­ocrite.The PGA Tour might be able to avoid tak­ing tour­na­ments to Trump cour­ses, but can hardly sanc­tion any of their mem­bers for as­so­ci­at­ing with the man.

In­ter­est­ingly, the US Golf As­so­ci­a­tion and LPGA are go­ing ahead with hold­ing the US Women’s Open in July at Trump Na­tional Bed­min­is­ter, one of the Don­ald’s cour­ses in New Jersey. The venue was cho­sen some years ago when Trump was just an abra­sive busi­ness­man. Trump may be at the tro­phy pre­sen­ta­tion.The R&A are also faced with host­ing the Open Cham­pi­onship at Trump Turn­berry, one of the cour­ses on their rota, al­though the ear­li­est that could ev­i­dently hap­pen would be in 2024, by which time Trump will likely have dis­ap­peared from the po­lit­i­cal land­scape.

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