Report: Donald Trump tried to get British government to hold British Open at his Scotland resort

President Donald Trump reportedly tried, and failed, to get his Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland to host the British Open, according to The New York Times.

Trump reportedly asked Woody Johnson, the American ambassador to Britain, to “see if the British government could help steer” the iconic golf tournament — one of the four major championships each season — to his course in Scotland in 2018. 

Johnson reportedly “raised the idea” of the course hosting the tournament to Scotland Secretary of State David Mundell, too, despite warnings from his deputy that “it would be an unethical use of the presidency for private gain.”

Mundell declined to tell The New York Times what he and Johnson — a Trump donor and the owner of the New York Jets — discussed. A statement from the British government said that Johnson “made no request of Mr. Mundell regarding the British Open or any other sporting event.”

President Donald Trump plays a round of golf at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort on July 15, 2018 in Turnberry, Scotland. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Mundell’s deputy, Lewis Lukens, was reportedly left “deeply unsettled” by the request. Lukens emailed State Department officials about the request, per the report, but was later forced out of his position. Lukens had previously served as the acting ambassador to Britain and as the ambassador to Senegal. 

The British Open is run by the R&A, one of the sport’s largest governing bodies in the world. R&A spokesman Mike Woodcock said he hasn’t “received any approaches from the British government or the Scottish government” about holding the event at Trump’s course in Scotland, according to The New York Times

Trump’s reported desire to get the event to his course didn’t pan out.

The British Open was scheduled to be held at Royal St. George’s this year, though it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be held there next year, followed by a trip to St. Andrews in 2022 and then to Royal Liverpool in 2023. The tournament rotates between courses in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland each year.

Trump purchased the course in 2014. It sits along the southwest coast of Scotland, about an hour south of Glasgow. Turnberry has held the British Open four times in the past, most recently in 2009.

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