Another golf event drops Trump course due to attack on immigrants

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suffered a fresh blow on Tuesday with the announcement that a professional golfing event scheduled for October at a Trump course in Los Angeles will be moved, the latest fallout from his vitriol against undocumented immigrants from Mexico.

A statement issued by Hope Hicks, Trump's campaign spokeswoman, said the real estate mogul met on Monday with representatives from the PGA of America and they agreed “it is in everyone's best interest not to conduct the 2015 Grand Slam of Golf at Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles in October.”

“Due to the controversy surrounding statements made by Mr. Trump having to do with illegal immigrants pouring into the United States from Mexico and other parts of the world, Mr. Trump does not want his friends at the PGA of America to suffer any consequences or backlash with respect to the Grand Slam of Golf,” Hicks said.

The decision to move the Grand Slam of Golf event, which usually features a handful of the best professional golfers competing against one another, came a day after sports broadcaster ESPN announced it would move the ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic from Trump National Golf Club to Pelican Hill Golf Club in the Los Angeles area.

In addition, the PGA of America said it is in the process of exploring options, including a venue for its annual PGA Junior League Golf Championship scheduled to be held at the same Trump course in Los Angeles. It said the group will comment further at the appropriate time.

Since his June 16 candidacy announcement speech, in which he vented about illegal immigrants, Trump has seen a steady flow of business away from him. Univision declared it would not broadcast the Miss USA pageant, and NBC, Macy's, Serta and NASCAR cut ties with him.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, considered a top contender to represent the Republican Party in the November 2016 election, told Fox Business News that Trump's comments have distracted from serious debate about how to reform the U.S. immigration system.

“We have a broken legal immigration system and we have an illegal immigration problem that isn't just composed, by the way, of a porous border with Mexico,” he said.

Trump said on Monday that some of his criticism of Mexico had been distorted, but stuck to his stance that many undocumented immigrants coming across the Mexican border are criminals.

Golfer sues course, claims religious discrimination

As the PGA Northern Trust Open gets under way at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, golfer Wade Morris finds himself on the sideline, a victim of what he says is religious discrimination.

Morris has filed suit against Angeles National Golf Club in Sunland, alleging that the club prevented him from playing in a Feb. 9 tournament there — which could have qualified him to play this weekend — because of his religion. Morris once worked as a driving range instructor at Angeles National and said he knew the course well.

“I’m very disgusted,” Morris said. “I know I should be out there. … I was practicing on the course. I know it like the back of my hand.”

Not being able to participate in the qualifying tournament was only the last of many encounters with Angeles National that finally caused Morris to file suit, alleging wrongful termination.

In his lawsuit, Morris alleges he was paid $2,000 per month but was required to work a minimum of 12 hours a day, six days a week, often without breaks. Morris claims he was fired after complaining that he was not being paid fairly, and was not allowed to take breaks. Before being terminated, he had also complained that he was not being allowed to have time off to attend synagogue (he worships at Em Habanim Sephardic Congregation in North Hollywood) or to attend High Holy Days services. Morris said he had also complained previously about the sexist way the female employees at the golf course were being treated.

Four former employees filed suits against Angeles National Golf Course in June 2010, alleging that the course harbored an environment of sexual and racial harassment, discrimination, and frequently required employees to work overtime without compensation.

Morris’ lawyer, Ann Hull, said Morris filed a discrimination complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which caused Angeles National to kick him off the course and permanently banned him, allegedly for smoking.

In a Feb.11 statement, Angeles National spokesman Eric W. Rose said the club considers the lawsuits “meritless” and “an unconscionable and irresponsible abuse of the legal system by disgruntled former employees.”

The statement went on to say that Morris is not allowed to play at the course because of his lawsuit and because he violated club policies on smoking and discarding butts.

This wasn’t the first time Morris had attempted to qualify for the Northern Trust Open at Angeles National. He tried last year, too, and was escorted off the premises while trying to play a practice round, Hull said.

This year, taking no chances, he contacted the PGA months ago and spoke to Rob Keller, tournament director for the Southern California PGA. Morris said Keller told him that since the PGA was in control of this event, he would be welcomed to participate.

Two days before the event, Morris said, Keller called him again and told him that Angeles National attorneys said Morris would be guilty of trespassing if he was to appear that day. Angeles National is a public golf course.

Keller could not be reached for comment.

Morris said Keller gave him entry into another qualifying tournament at Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills. Morris shot 80 and failed to qualify.

Hull said Morris’ complaint is scheduled to be heard in Los Angeles Superior Court in September along with those of other former Angeles National employees. She said Morris seeks damages but will leave it to the jury to decide the amount.

Meanwhile, Morris continues to hone his game and plans to play tournaments on the Golden State Golf Tour.