Trump brushes off Mexico row at Scottish golf tournament

US billionaire Donald Trump (centre) arrives at the Women's British Open Golf Championships in Turnberry, Scotland.
US billionaire Donald Trump (centre) arrives at the Women's British Open Golf Championships in Turnberry, Scotland.AFP

TURNBERRY, United Kingdom (AFP) - Billionaire US presidential hopeful Donald Trump declared "the world asked me to be here" on Thursday as he arrived at one his Scottish golf courses for a tournament shadowed by a row over immigration.

The Women's British Open is taking place at Turnberry on the south-west Scottish coast, which was bought by Trump - the leading Republican contender in the 2016 presidential race - last year.

Arriving on his private helicopter and sporting a cap emblazoned with the slogan "Make America Great Again", the 69-year-old showed up despite becoming embroiled in a controversy with golf authorities over comments he made about Mexicans.

Trump triggered outrage last month when he accused illegal immigrants from Mexico of importing crime, rape and drugs into the US.

But he insisted his presence at the tournament in Scotland would not detract from the golf.

"Everyone has asked me to be here, the tour has asked me to be here and the world has asked me to be here, and I have a big stake in this land, it's spectacular here," he told reporters.

He added that he "expects" to become president and that the "world would unite" if he moved into the White House.

Earlier this month, Trump challenged the Ladies' Professional Golf Association (LPGA) to find a new venue for the event after it and other golf bodies distanced themselves from his comments about illegal immigrants from Mexico.

But Trump said that LPGA commissioner Mike Whan had since "come and apologised to me".

"I said I didn't like the tone of his statement but I've been proven to be right about illegal immigration and a lot of people have been apologising to me," Trump added.

The real estate tycoon owns two golf courses in Scotland, part of a portfolio of 16, most of which are in the United States.