The 2016 World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral is certain to occur this coming March with its usual glitz, glamour and the world’s best golfers displaying their skills.
Preparations are well underway.
However, after that it’s anybody’s guess what the tournament’s future will be.
The PGA Tour recently issued an ominous, although not definitive, statement that put the future of the South Florida event in doubt.
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“Immediately after the completion of the 2016 tournament, we will explore all options regarding the event’s future,” the PGA statement said.
Obviously, there is a disconnect — to put it in the mildest of terms — between the PGA and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is the owner of the Trump National Doral resort and its golf courses. The chasm between Trump and the PGA has been attributed to some of Trump’s campaign statements, presumably including his call for banning all Muslims from entering the U.S. and earlier remarks, when he first announced he was running for the presidency, about Mexicans.
The PGA, in its statement, specifically named Trump, saying: “We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump’s comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf.”
And, despite the conflict with Trump, the statement also emphasized that the PGA is “moving forward” to hold this year’s event from March 3-6 on the fabled Blue Monster course.
It also reaffirmed its long-standing relationship with the South Florida community, saying: “The PGA Tour has had a 53-year commitment to the Doral community, the greater Miami area and the charities that have benefited from the tournament.
“Given this commitment, we are moving forward with holding the 2016 event at the Blue Monster.”
This is the second time in recent weeks that the future of a South Florida world-class sporting event has been put in serious doubt.
The well-renowned Miami Open tennis tournament also faces an insecure future after this year’s event (March 21-April 3) because of conflicts concerning expansion and upgrading of the tournament’s home, the Tennis Center at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is well aware of the possibility that both the golf and tennis tournaments could leave the area but promised to try to prevent that from occurring.
“We are going to do everything in our power to make sure we don’t lose those two events — they are extremely important to us,” Gimenez said. “But sure, it worries me.”
Andres Garviria, the general manager of the WGC-Cadillac Championship, is also concerned.
“We started in 1962,” Garviria said, “and we have been playing at Doral ever since. It’s the oldest professional sporting event in South Florida. This will be our 54th year, and we’ve been around longer than the Dolphins , the Marlins , Heat  and Panthers .
“We have a strong commitment to Miami and South Florida,” Garviria added, “and we love the importance the tournament brings.”
Possibly the most-affected person watching what goes on with the golf and tennis tournaments is Butch Buchholz, who was the founder of the Miami Open and in recent years has been the tournament chairman of the Cadillac Championship.
“They are very much a part of the South Florida sports scene,” Buchholz said. “I would hate to see either one leave.
“In fact, if that happened, it would be tragic.”
Trump is a golf fanatic who owns courses throughout the world, loves to play the game and certainly is an attraction every year at the Cadillac Championship as he arrives in his helicopter, which usually lands on a helipad the billionaire had built just off the ninth hole. Each year, he happily signs a massive amount of autographs and constantly mingles with the fans.
Considering he is going here, there and everywhere across the country trying to become president, will Trump appear at Doral this year?
Surprisingly, Buchholz has been told he probably will.
“There are big primaries on the Tuesday of the week of the tournament,” Buchholz said, “but as we understand it he will be coming here after that.”
The Doral golf event, existing under various names and sponsors, has been a fixture in South Florida sports since that initial event in 1962, when Billy Casper won the title and collected $9,000 for his efforts. This year, the winner will pocket more than $1.6 million.
The Miami Open tennis tournament, which also has had various sponsors and sites, came into existence in 1985 with Tim Mayotte winning the initial men’s title against Scott Davis in five sets. Martina Navratilova was the first women’s winner, defeating Chris Evert in straight sets.