| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Golf course owner gets death threats over 9/11 promotion

An advertisement that appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, offers nine holes of golf for $9.11 to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 6:57 p.m.

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.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Chicago mayor fires police chief in wake of video release
  2. Defense chief: U.S. expanding special operations force in Iraq
  3. House majority leader predicts no government shutdown over Planned Parenthood
  4. Suspect in Colorado clinic attack Dear makes court appearance
  5. New York City’s salt warning rule to take effect at chain restaurants
  6. Police shooting of black teen cited in University of Chicago threat
  7. New Navy destroyer Zumwalt’s seaworthiness questioned before sea trials
  8. Storm dumps snow on Northern Plains
  9. ‘Homeland’ to hair: Emails peek into Hillary Clinton’s personal life
  10. EPA increases ethanol in gasoline supply for 2016
  11. Ads for Nazi-themed show pulled from NYC subways