Remember the flak that Rory McIlroy took a few months ago for agreeing to play a round of golf with President Trump? In three separate golf-related articles lately, The Donald been all over the papers again – and I don’t think anyone could label any of it ‘fake news’.
First up was Thomas Pieters, the Belgian Ryder Cup player, in an interview with Rick Broadbent in The Times. “Some people say he [Trump] is super smart, which I can believe [for him] to run a business empire like that,” said Pieters. “I’m golf smart but I’m not book smart. Then you meet people who know him and they say he’s a complete idiot. It’s hard to judge but if you want to judge us because Donald Trump plays golf then that’s your opinion. I actually think the image of golf is getting much better; it’s harder to be a fat man playing golf now.” And I actually think that Pieters there seems to be saying that even Trump’s image can’t damage golf, and that in addition he has weight issues.
Two weeks on Thursday sees the start of the US Women’s Open at Trump National, his course at Bedminster, New Jersey, where he held cabinet meetings in the early days of his administration and which has since come to be nicknamed ‘Camp David North’. At the US Open the week before last, a plane was flown over the course trailing the banner ‘USGA: Take a Mulligan. Dump Trump’. Well, if that gimmick really worked then Arsene Wenger would no longer be manager of Arsenal, but of course there would be no prospect of the USGA changing venue at that sort of short notice. On the one hand the USGA will be aware that when Trump visited his Turnberry resort ahead of the 2015 Women’s British Open, the whole thing became a media circus – and he wasn’t even president at that point. On the other hand, the likely truth is, as Jamie Corrigan noted in the Daily Telegraph, “the vast majority of the Americans in the field will have voted for the president and will support him in the face of anger at the gates”.
Kind of curiously, there was a piece by David Walsh in the Sunday Times just over a week ago in which he talked about how much Gary Player admires the renovations that Trump has had done at Turnberry. (An opinion shared by many people.) The three-times Open champion told Walsh: “I’ve played at all the Open venues. There’s none that compares with Turnberry.” Walsh writes: “The earliest that the Open Championship can be played at Turnberry is 2023. Plainly, that is wrong.” Plainly, that sentence is bollocks. Given the venues already announced, and the future balance between Scottish and English courses (not forgetting Ireland in 2019), and between the west and east coasts of Scotland, it is plainly right. Anyhow, while it’s far from me to disagree with Gary’s opinion, he does seem to have something going on with Donald. Trump has 32.8 million followers on Twitter. He follows just 45 people, nearly all of whom are either family or Fox employees. One of the others is Gary Player.
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