Donald Trump has purchased his 17th golf course, but this one is the most famous of them all.
Trump has agreed to buy the Turnberry Resort, with its famed Ailsa Course, which has played host to the Open Championship four times, including the “Duel in the Sun,” in which Tom Watson held off Jack Nicklaus in an epic struggle in 1977.
And the good news is that “The Donald” has no plans to make any changes to the course on the west coast of Scotland on the shores of the Firth of Clyde, adjacent to the iconic Turnberry Lighthouse that dates to 1873.
“It is an honor and privilege to own one of golf’s greatest and most exciting properties,” said Trump, who will pay Dubai-based Leisurecorp a little more than $63 million, according to The Independent in London.
“I’m not going to touch a thing unless the Royal & Ancient ask for it or approve it. I have the greatest respect for the R&A and for (chief executive) Peter Dawson. I won’t do anything to the golf course at all without their full stamp of approval.”
Trump has put his name on all of the courses and resorts he owns, including Trump National Doral in Miami, where he had the TPC Blue Monster reworked.
The new course met with mixed reviews from PGA Tour pros during the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March and Trump was listening, because he said additional changes will be made with what the players had to say in mind.
As far as renaming his new course Trump Turnberry, unfortunately he is considering it, telling Golf magazine that the name “has a nice ring to it.”
Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, which is the governing body of golf for most of the world and manages the Open Championship, had a quick response to that possibility as it relates to the Claret Jug.
“Turnberry has been called other things before with previous owners,” Dawson told The Independent. “But it’s engraved as Turnberry on the Jug, and I’d imagine will remain so.”
In the latest Open at Turnberry in 2009, the then 59-year-old Watson almost made history when he took a one-stroke lead to the 72nd hole, but made a bogey and eventually lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink.
Had he won, Watson would have supplanted Julius Boros, who was 48 when he captured the 1968 PGA Championship at Pecan Valley Golf Club in San Antonio, Texas, as the oldest major champion in history.