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Trump sought to use his clout to land British Open for Turnberry, report says

President turned to U.S. ambassador to U.K. for help in landing an Open for his Scottish resort, The New York Times reports, but Trump denies making the request

Requested: By President Donald Trump, that the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom secure a future British Open for the business magnate-turned-politician’s Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, according to a report in The New York Times. Three unnamed sources told the Times that Robert Wood Johnson IV felt pressured by his boss and in 2018 approached David Mundell, Scotland’s secretary of state, about the possibility of a future Open at the resort. Neither official would confirm the report. During his coronavirus briefing Wednesday, Trump denied making the request. “No, I never spoke to Woody Johnson about that, about Turnberry,” Trump said. “Turnberry’s a highly respected course, as you know, one of the best in the world. I read a story about it today, and I never spoke to Woody Johnson about doing that, no.” Johnson, known as “Woody,” is a co-owner of the NFL’s New York Jets and a co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson consumer-products company. Trump bought Turnberry, on Scotland’s southwest coast, in 2014 and retained Martin Ebert to renovate the resort’s three courses, including the acclaimed Ailsa Course, which has hosted four British Opens. Last year, Trump secured his Trump National Doral resort near Miami as the host of the Group of 7 economic meeting before changing sites amid public criticism about undue influence and a potential violation of the Constitution’s “emoluments” clause. As recently as February, R&A chief Martin Slumbers said that Turnberry remains part of the 10-course Open rota, according to a report in the Associated Press. The 2020 British Open, which was scheduled for Royal St. George's in England, was canceled by the R&A because of the global coronavirus pandemic. Turnberry has not hosted golf’s oldest major championship since 2009, when Stewart Cink defeated 59-year-old Tom Watson in a playoff. The next available Open slot would be in 2025, with Royal St. George’s (2021), St. Andrews’ Old Course (2022), Royal Liverpool (2023) and Royal Troon (2024) already booked.

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