As they enter their 17th season as the so-called flagship series of the International Federation of PGA Tours (IFPGAT), the World Golf Championships (WGC) events, of which just eight have ever been staged outside the USA, how ironic it is that the first to be staged during the Trump presidency will not be at one of his glitzy, high-profile resorts, but in Mexico, the country he has vilified over recent months?
Trump’s Blue Monster course at Doral in Florida had been host to the opening WGC event of the season ever since he acquired the resort in 2012, but, by all accounts, the PGA Tour and WGC officials deemed the prospect of an ugly belligerent by Candidate Trump caused them queasiness, forcing them to to look elsewhere.
To Mexico, the first time a WGC event has been staged in South America, the country of whose citizens the now President Trump saying days after his inauguration, “They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists,” and whose border with the USA he plans to build a 2,000km, 12m-high wall and make the Mexicans pick up a bill that has been estimated to be between US$20m - 40m.
So, the first ever WGC event in South America should exude bonhomie and munificence, especially with the PGA Tour in the vanguard and 75% of the competitors representing the Stars & Stripes, all sitting awkwardly with the IFPGAT mission statement, which reads, “The mission was to grow interest in the game by focusing on the global aspects of the game.”
But, back to the world of golf, and away from a geopolitical world that is changing before our very eyes, in WGC La La Land, virtually nothing changes - same venues, same players, same formats - same bloated prize funds and a world ranking points system designed, it would seem, to perpetuate the status quo.
And, as Mexico prepares to become just the sixth nation to host what purports to be a, ‘World Championship,’ the leading 50 players in the world have systematically filled their boots with ‘Greenbacks,’ almost US$40m on offer this year, a staggering three-quarters of a billion dollars since it all began back in 1999.
More than half the WGC events have been won by American golfers, Tiger Woods all-powerful with 18 wins in all, remarkably, given his present plight down amongst the dead men and in danger of falling out of the top 750 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) two of them as recently as 2013, a staggering WGC victory-to-appearances ratio of 32%.