BEDMINISTER, NJ – Walking alongside Donald Trump as he plays golf is a lot like watching his presidency: he tells you how well he’s doing, mistakes are ignored, and the constant is the endless stream of group photos with Trump flashing a toothy smile. excellent.
It was as entertaining, revealing, and inexplicable as it sounds.
On Thursday, Trump was one of the contenders for the pro championship on the eve of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf event he is hosting this weekend at his luxury golf course in northwest New Jersey. The intent of this outing was to team up some celebrity and daily golfers with the pros, and Trump was, of course, in the first set for the day.
While Trump played a lot of golf As president, except for his guests, few were able to watch a golf game during his four years in the White House. The media kept a distance. But on Thursday, nearly 50 accredited media for the tournament — plus some event officials — will accompany Trump on an 18-hole walk.
Trump’s golf team, which included security, drove dozens of golf carts, generally two in a cart. But there was one cart that was mostly one person operated, and the only ex-president drove the car.
For the pros, Trump is bundled with two of the top players to pull into the competition’s LIV circuit from the PGA Tour: Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, who have won three majors between them.
About 15 minutes later than the 10 a.m. tee, Trump climbed onto the first shirt in a white T-shirt and black shorts, sweating profusely under his signature MAGA hat. He looked pale. To be fair, at Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, which has few shades, no one walking the grounds on a humid day with temperatures in the mid-90s was comfortable.
As he climbed onto the tee, Trump quickly became the focal point of more than a handful of photos. He would organize the assortment of people in the picture, often giving instructions on who should be standing, like a janitor from taking pictures.
Finally, it’s time to start the tour, and Trump’s opening drive is stuck to the left. But it was a respectable distance from a tee for a 76-year-old, roughly 220 yards.
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The format for the pros was that each group would pick their best tee shot and then play their second shots from that spot. For the rest of the hole they were expected to play their own ball, wherever it came to rest. It was often impossible to assign exact scores to any player, but on the first hole of Level 4, Trump needed five strokes to get his ball into the hole for bogey.
But on the second hole, Trump set a clear rhythm for the day’s flight, defying golf’s polite protocol of waiting for your turn.
After hitting his second shot in the green, Trump ignored the other players in his group who had not yet collided and jumped into his wagon and sped forward. He parked his car a few feet from the lift deck (which is also a no-go because it can damage the short, thin grass in that area). As he stood in the fairway half a hole behind Trump, Johnson yelled in front of him because he had not yet played his second shot and could have coaxed the former president near the green.
Trump put his cart in reverse and went out of range. But his barge forward style of play continued for most of the round. All too often, Trump would put himself in a hole while his playmates were still 125 yards down the fairway.
After a few holes, Trump stopped talking to a group of reporters. He was asked how much he could earn by hosting the LIV Golf Championship on his course.
“I don’t do it for it. I do it because I think it’s good for golf.”
“The important thing is that we are all playing well,” he said.
By then, Trump had scored, at best, one draw. He also hadn’t finished a pit after his blast from a bunker failed to reach the green and he was cradled in a bad tough area. Instead, he would hold his can to catch the ball and walk to the next tee. On another hole, when a birdie rolled nearly six feet out of the hole, he tipped the ball casually to finish the hole, seeming to concede. Try it this weekend in your match with your usual quad. or any quad.
Other times, Trump’s misguided strike will simply be ignored. As if he understood the drill, his caddy retrieves the golf ball from the sand or deep, coarse and walks forward.
However, Trump showed a sunny face the entire time. This included a scene he wasn’t expecting. As he climbed onto a tee in a 3-yard, 176-yard hole over a large pond, he was approached by three comedians who, in concert with LIV Golf, were conducting what they called a “retreat challenge” during the morning pro. The idea was that the comedians, whose project is called Country Club Adjacent, would try to insult, mock or harass every golfer on the shirt to see if they would back out of the shot before hitting it. The scenes were filmed for the group’s various social networks.
Trump agreed to play.
While standing on top of the ball, one of the comedians, Blake Webber, said, “What would your followers say if you hit that left?”
“You built a golf course only to miss the green?” said Jake Adams.
And finally, from Griff Pippin: “It looks like your swing is broken. Was it made in China?”
Trump did not hesitate. But he cut his bullet in the water.
Trump then posed with the comedians for a group photo. He paused and smiled while simultaneously raising his right thumb.
“Typical food guru. Problem solver. Devoted beer practitioner. Professional reader. Baconaholic.”