Golf course owner gets death threats over 9/11 promotion
MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin golf course owner who advertised nine holes of golf for $9.11 to mark the anniversary 9/11 apologized on Tuesday but said he would keep the club open despite a backlash that included death threats.
Tumbledown Trails Golf Course near Madison advertised the special in the Wisconsin State Journal newspaper on Monday, saying it was intended to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. The discount, which also included 18 holes of golf for $19.11, was good for the anniversary on Wednesday only.
News of the offer spread on social media and the golf course's Facebook page was overrun with negative comments. Owner and general manager Marc Watts said he received death threats and threats to burn down the family-operated public golf course. The sheriff's department sent a deputy there Tuesday, and Watts said another officer will be back on Wednesday.
“We're a little hurt by the fact that people are putting such a negative context on this,” Watts said. “I thought people would appreciate it.”
The promotion actually began two years ago, on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, and until now was warmly received as a way to ensure people never forget the tragedy, Watts said.
This year, after the newspaper ad circulated on social media, Watts said the club's phone has been ringing off the hook.
Watts apologized on Monday night on Facebook and was personally fielding calls on Tuesday, saying there was no intention to cause offense. He considered closing the 20-year-old golf course because of safety concerns but decided to keep it open.
“We could close, but then all these people with their negative attitudes, they win,” he said. Watts, who was near tears during an interview, said he spent much of the night throwing up over the backlash.
Lee Ielpi, whose firefighter son died in the attacks, said he understands the backlash from the ad, but he also believes it's important to remember 9/11. Ielpi, speaking in a telephone interview from the 9/11 memorial site, is president and co-founder of the 9/11 Tribute Center.
“I think that any positive event is always beneficial to make sure we remember 9/11,” Ielpi said. “I don't feel slighted by this golf outing.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Who wins, who loses under stricter power plant limits
- Hitchhiking robot’s journey west cut short in Philly
- Obama orders steeper emission cuts from power plants
- Democrats see ‘firewall’ preserving Iran nuclear deal
- Finish 44-year Hamtramck housing bias case soon, judge tells lawyers
- West Virginia on pace to issue record number of concealed-carry permits
- Phoenix man accused of beheading wife, dogs jailed on $2M bail
- CDC: 1 in 5 American adults live with a disability
- Veterans notified of info breach in South Dakota
- Federal agents to embed with Baltimore police homicide unit
- Manhunt under way for suspect in Memphis officer’s killing