(CNN)The United States Golf Association expressed great excitement that the US Women’s Open was taking place at the Trump National Golf Club. But the event, which President Donald Trump attended, ended up being a TV ratings disaster for the organization.
The biggest event in women’s golf, which ended Sunday, was held at the President’s club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
But like the President’s approval ratings, interest in the tournament was at historic lows.
Sports Media Watch reported that Sunday ratings for the U.S. Women’s Open were down 40 percent from last year, giving it the lowest overnight final-round ratings since at least 1996. This was the first time in 15 years that the US Women’s Open won’t be among the most watched women’s golf events of the year, according to Sports Media Watch, which covers TV ratings.
Just six months into Trump’s presidency, his approval was at 36% over the same weekend as the tournament, according to an ABC News / Washington Post poll. It is the lowest approval rating at the six-month mark of any presidency in 70 years, ABC News said. Only 30% of women approve of the President’s performance.
Demonstrators from UltraViolet, a national feminist group, held up signs at the course’s entrance Sunday protesting the decision to have a women’s sport event at a Trump property.
Shaunna Thomas, a cofounder of the group, said it was unfair for women to have to play in an environment that benefits someone who has attracted criticism for his comments about and treatment of women.
“There’s something inherently shocking in forcing women golfers to play on a course owned by Trump, who has made such sexist comments,” she told CNN. “We feel terrible for the players themselves who are caught in the middle of it.”
Anya Alvarez, a former professional golfer who has played in past US Women’s Opens, said despite the low ratings Trump’s presence “stole the spotlight” from women’s golf.
“Some golf lovers saw it as an opportunity for women’s golf to receive more exposure. Not quite,” she wrote Monday in Good Sports. “Women’s golf did not receive more exposure: It was Trump who stole the spotlight before the tournament began amid rumors that he would attend the tournament and present the trophy to the winner.”
Despite criticism from some, second place finisher Hye-Jin Choi said she was touched by the American President’s presence at the event.
“I flew all the way here from Korea, long distance, and then on top of that the United States president clapped for me and cheered for me,” the 17-year-old South Korean told the New York Times. “I was touched.”
While Trump may have done nothing for the Women’s Open’s ratings, he has increased golf’s profile in general since entering the White House. Despite regularly criticizing President Barack Obama’s fondness for the sport, Trump is outpacing his predecessor in the amount of time he spends golfing.
Trump, who owns a number of golf courses around the world, “has spent nearly 22% of his days in office at one of his golf properties to play for some portion of the day” as of July 3, according to Golf News Net.
Featured Image: WTVB
Inset Image: Newsday