As of December 30, former-president-in-waiting, Donald Trump, has spent 298 days on the golf course since he was inaugurated in front of the biggest crowd no one ever saw a lifetime ago in 2017. That is according to the people at TrumpGolfCount.com, who have been keeping an eye on Trump’s visits after he lied when he said: “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”
Trump played golf a lot, or “golfed”, as the Americans would say. That they warped a noun into a verb is twisted and weird. That would be like saying Trump “presidented”, which is wrong on so many levels. Perhaps the most presidential thing Trump did was…er…actually, I’ve got nothing.
Those days at his resorts cost the American taxpayer $144-million. They include, say TrumpGolfCount.com, 127 days Mar a Lago (31 flights totalling $60,138,000), 86 at Bedminster: (27 flights – $23,515,500) He has visited one of his courses once every 4.9 days since January 17, 2017. By comparison, Barrack Obama played golf 306 times in eight years as a president.
It would have cut him deep (well, paper-cut deep for a man with paper-thin skin) to have the Professional Golfers Association of America announce they would no longer hold the 2022 PGA at his Bedminster course in New Jersey. Former ESPN sports columnist Rick Reilly, whose book, “Commander In Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump”, released in 2019, explains Trump’s non-existent relationship with the truth in jaw-dropping detail.
“He’s got to be devastated,” Reilly told MotherJones.com. “This is going to be as bad as losing the election, which he did and he can’t deny any more than he can deny he no longer has a major. He might think he can sue, but it’s over. The PGA will write whatever check they have to. He’s done.”
The best time to kick a wannabe tyrant is when he is down, and the R&A decided to cover their lily-white backsides by announcing that Turnberry, the Scottish course owned by Trump, would not host the Open for the “foreseeable future”. Which is the equivalent of saying we weren’t going to hold it there anyway, but we thought we would get ourselves some good PR while the getting is good.
Turnberry, which last hosted the Open in 2009, used to be one of 10 courses on the Open rota, but Golf Digest said this week their suspicions it had been taken off the rota after Trump bought it in 2014 had all but been confirmed by the R&A statement.
It took golf a long time to finally show some spine with Trump. It took the storming of the Capitol by Bucky Bison and the Rednecks last week forced their hand and gave them an air bag of safety to make these grand decisions and statements. As Bryan Armen Graham wrote in the Guardian, “let’s pause in hailing it as a profile in courage”. The golf establishment has been deafeningly silent during the last four years. As the Black Lives Matter movement shone a necessary spotlight on racism and police killings, professional golfers lined up to play with Trump. Tiger Woods…Tiger Frigging Woods! He has played with Trump three times since he was elected. Ernie Els got in a round with Trump in 2017. Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Brad Faxon, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIroy, Fred Funk and Lexi Thompson, the latter posing for a picture with Trump and Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing talk show host who received the presidential medal of freedom from Trump for, apparently, services to sexism, racism and fomenting division.
And, then, as the United States was turning and Trump’s world shrinking, Gary Player joined Annika Sorenstam at the White House to get their presidential medal of freedom from Trump. They both played with the president who not only does not play it as it lies, but lies about playing, and his gimp, Senator Lindsay Graham in September 2019. Player’s son, Marc, called his father “tone deaf” for accepting the award just days after the violence at the Capitol. Of course he’s tone deaf. So would you be if you had spent all of your life talking about yourself loudly and constantly to anyone who would listen.
Player’s ego would not let him turn down the award. What good did he think would come from this? Oh, he and his supporters may say you wouldn’t turn down a medal or an invitation to play golf with the president or visit the White House. Many have. Many would. Some should have.