The deeply unpopular president seems to have tarnished the LPGA event held at his New Jersey country club.
Donald Trump spent the weekend promoting this year’s women’s U.S. Open golf championship as it unfolded at the Trump-owned National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.
On Twitter, he crowed about what a huge success it was shaping up to be.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2017
But the event, broadcast by Fox News, actually proved to be a commercial flop, posting its worst television ratings in nearly 40 years. Reports also surfaced that the tournament was sparsely attended.
So much for Trump being a world-class business man.
Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to ever attend the women’s championship, and there was hope within the sport that his presence would boost the event’s profile. But the deeply unpopular president appears to have done the opposite, tarnishing the championship.
For one, the television ratings were a disaster. Sunday’s final round garnered just a 0.6 rating, for a total of only 790,000 viewers. That marked a huge 40 percent decrease from the previous year’s final round. Overall, the 0.6 rating was “the lowest on record for the U.S. Women’s Open (dating back to 1988),” according to Sports Media Watch.
The decision by the LPGA to host its annual championship at a club owned by Trump sparked criticism, given Trump’s clear history of misogyny. Trump was caught on tape last year bragging about sexually assaulting women, and he used to walk into beauty pageant dressing rooms while young women were changing.
On Sunday, a handful of UltraViolet protesters positioned themselves in front of Trump’s viewing booth at the golf club and unveiled their “USGA: DUMP SEXIST TRUMP” T-shirts.
But the New York Times reported over the weekend that “most” players welcomed Trump’s presence at the tournament and hoped it would boost the sport’s profile.
In truth, Trump serves as a lightning rod and repels people.
“Crowds actually looked considerably smaller than previous years, and several accounts from players and caddies fought the notion that somehow Trump would draw bigger crowds,” wrote Anya Alvarez, a former LPGA player, following the weekend’s U.S. Open.
Added golf caddie Missy Pedersen, “Once tournament play started there were very obvious voids in the gallery, so ticket sales did appear to be down.”
Trump has enjoyed success this year in getting Republicans and Republican campaigns to spend lots of money at his golf properties. But the turned-off public seems to be staying away.
“Since Trump entered the presidential race in June 2015, revenues from greens fees at the L.A. club has dropped by 13 percent, according to figures from the city government,” the Washington Post reported this week. “Charity golf-tournaments, another core piece of the club’s business, have moved away: ESPN relocated its celebrity tournament. The L.A. Galaxy soccer team withdrew. The L.A. Unified School District also moved, forfeiting a $7,500 deposit it had already paid Trump’s course.”
Clearly, Trump’s brand is increasingly toxic.