Page Six: Some Winged Foot Members Want Trump Presidential Portrait Erected

Emily Smith of the New York Posts says some Republican members of Winged Foot are lobbying for a portrait of the President to be erected in the Clifford Wendehack-designed clubhouse.

Smith says there is opposition, including "senior club management".

The insider continued, “It seems the leaders of Winged Foot do not want to rock the boat and politicize the club, given that the US Open will be at Winged Foot in 2020.”

The President's locker at the club where he's been a member since 1969, no longer has his name on it.

“Each member has a locker with their name on it, but Mr. Trump’s name has been mysteriously taken down. Some members are outraged because there seems to be no justification, apart from, perhaps, too many people were trying to take selfies at Trump’s locker, or they simply don’t want to advertise his membership.”

Too late now!

Someone Posts A 68 To President Trump's GHIN Account

Given the circumstances--a Tuesday, a course rating of 66.1 and the unlikelihood our President posting a score these days even as he tees it up regularly--I'm guessing we'll find out this was a breach of Donald Trump's handicap. Shocking, I know!

Nonetheless, Golf.com's Dylan Dethier has tried to piece together the oddities of the posting, including this:

The round of 68 is listed as an "away" round, suggesting it wasn't played at one of the president's home courses. The course rating is also oddly low: 66.1, a far cry from the ratings and tee boxes Trump normally favors, which range from the low- to mid-70s.

As is often the case with President Trump, the story raises far more questions than answers. Where and when was this round of 68 played? Why did he choose to post this score, and no others since June of 2016?

Politico: "Trump finds golf isn't the way to Congress' heart"

As President Donald Trump prepares to embark on an 11-day trip through Asia scheduled to include golf with Prime Minister Abe and Hideki Matsuyama, Darren Samuelson considers how the game is helping his relationship with Congress.

Schedules, it seems, are not leading to golf games that include talk of business, Samuelson writes.

Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican ranked by Golf Digest last year as the best golfer among members of Congress, said he had just discussed playing 18 holes with Trump when the president visited the Capitol for a GOP luncheon earlier this week.

“I’ve been invited for sure,” Perdue said. But Perdue said that finding a date in recent weeks has been challenging because of his commitments back in Georgia.

While Perdue said he expects to talk political shop when he does finally play golf with Trump, he also expects the round to be heavy on the social side.

“I’m not sure he’s using it as a tool,” Perdue said. “It’s a personal thing to do. This man has friends and uses it that way. He uses it to get relaxation. He uses it to think.

A Sunday game with with three legislators was rained out, which would have been his 79th day at one of his golf properties since becoming President.

Lindsey Graham Digging In On The 73 (Or Maybe 74) Claim

Michael Bamberger spent 33-minutes on the phone with Senator Lindsey Graham, who apparently had nothing else better to do than review claims of POTUS Donald Trump nearly shooting his age.

Graham says there wasn't a mulligan, only one birdie, one or two bogeys and mostly pars despite playing Trump National Washington at a yardage similar to the Senior PGA Championship setup in May.

"On the front nine, he shot even par," Graham said. "I shot a 41, which is good for me. He hit almost every fairway. He had seven Hogans, driving it on the fairway, hitting it on the green. On the back nine, he was one over, two over at the most. He had one birdie on the back, and just really hit the ball well. On the front, he made four 10- to 12-footers for par. That's what got him to shoot even-par on the front. He missed a four-foot birdie putt. He could easily have been one under."

Golf Magazine posted this video of the President chipping during the round. Nice to see everyone holding still while the leader of the free world is playing!

 

 

Compact!

FYI those wagering with Graham on the course or hoping to see a post-round gratuity, you know, for the effort...

Graham is sticking by his claim of 73 for the president—or 74. At the end of the round, he owed the president $30, but had only $5 with him, which the president accepted.

Trump Golf's UK Courses Suffer Losses In 2016

I'd caution against judging the losses at Turnberry as anything beyond the cost of renovation. And as detailed in Severinn Carrell's Guardian story, these 2016 numbers are pre-election, pre-madness.

However, the losses for Trump International Links in Aberdeen appear to be caused by a combination of factors and do not speak to a strong future for the Martin Hawtree-designed course, which appears to have been ruled out as a Scottish Open venue this summer by the tournament sponsor.

The latest accounts for his network of Scottish companies show he had to plough another £1.3m into his debt-ridden resort in Aberdeenshire to keep it afloat after the North Sea crisis saw its popularity slump among local golfers.

Trump International Golf Links Scotland lost nearly £1.2m in 2016, forcing Trump to increase his interest-free loans to the resort to nearly £41m ($54m) while he was campaigning for the presidency last year.

In their annual report, the Trump organization cited various factors.

The “crash in oil price and economic downturn” which had hit the north-east of Scotland had seen its income fall by 12.4%, he said, while winter storms had badly damaged part of its 18-hole championship course.

Not Trumped! 45 Delivers The Presidents Cup To Team USA

Team USA's victorious 2017 Presidents Cup team received the gold trophy from President Donald Trump who kept his remarks brief.

Golfweek's David Dusek on the presidential arrival and visit.

Things got off to a rocky start when the President hit send on a Tweet that criticized his predecessors.

The full transcript for those eager to relive the moment, the video and the text:

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They are very talented, and they really are people that have good hearts. I want to congratulate the Internationals.

On behalf of all of the people of Texas, of all of the people of -- if you look today, if you see what's happening, how horrible it is but we have it under really great control, Puerto Rico, and the people of Florida, who are really suffering over this last short period of time with hurricanes. I want to just remember them and we are going to dedicate this trophy to all of those people that went through so much.

And I tell you what, I've been watching this from the beginning, and I have to say our Team USA, wow, did you play well.

That great putter that I've been copying his putting stroke for many, many years, but it hasn't worked; Steve Stricker. We're going to present Steve with the trophy. I want to thank everybody. This is a special group of folks, tremendous money is donated to charity by the TOUR every year.

Stricker said it was a great honor to be the first captain to receive the cup from a sitting President of the United States, Will Gray reports.

The circumstances led to some fascinating scenes, including this sight of Commissioner Jay Monahan having been commissioned by Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky for a photo with Donald Trump.


A Sunday Presidents Cup Visit By President Trump Seems Likely

As I write for Golfweek.com, the signs were less than subtle Friday of an impending visit. To no one's surprise, it's unclear when or what the President plans to do, though an afternoon visit for the trophy ceremony is the current 2-1 betting favorite.

But he is, after all, the Honorary Presidents Cup Captain!

Trump Worries Scottish Independence Could End The British Open's Days In Scotland

Now giggle all you want, but this actually raises a few key points in the Brexit/Scottish Independence/branding-the-British-Open-as-The-Open world we live in.

The July 25th comments of President Donald Trump to WSJ editor-in-chief Gerard Baker in the Oval Office that were not to be leaked by the WSJ staff, only to be leaked by the WSJ staff to Politico:

WSJ: You tweeted this morning about trade talks with Britain.
TRUMP: Yes.
WSJ: Can you tell us more about what’s going on?
TRUMP: No, but I can say that we’re going to be very involved with the U.K. I mean, you don’t hear the word Britain anymore. It’s very interesting. It’s like, nope.
WSJ: I work with a Brit.
BAKER: I’m English. We always make that point. You’re right, yeah.
TRUMP: Is Scotland going to go for the vote, by the way? You don’t see it. It would be terrible. They just went through hell.
BAKER: (Inaudible) – but they’re going to be –
TRUMP: They just went through hell.
BAKER: Besides, the first minister’s already made it clear she –
TRUMP: What do you think? You don’t think so, right?
BAKER: I don’t.
TRUMP: One little thing, what would they do with the British Open if they ever got out? They’d no longer have the British Open.

Priorities! Or, was the owner of a Scottish venue thinking of Trump Turnberry's spot in the Open rota? Anyway...

BAKER: [naudible.]
TRUMP: Scotland. Keep it in Scotland.
BAKER: We just had a – (inaudible).
TRUMP: By the way, are you a member there?
BAKER: No. I’ve played there, but I –
TRUMP: I thought that course showed well.
WSJ: It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous course.

Attention Royal Birkdale members: you have a blurb from the President who rarely dishes out such compliments to courses he does not own.

The two went on to discuss Jordan Spieth's win.

But this raises a few points both legitimate and humorous.

If Brexit goes forward and leads to Scotland trying again to break free from the rest of the United Kingdom, how would this impact The Open? They're already paying the purse in dollars, perhaps to avoid a Pound v. Euro battle?

And while it is the British Open to folks of a certain vintage, we do know The Open was started in Scotland, is governed by a Scotland-based organization, and could easily survive quite with only Scottish links if need be.

But I'm not going to be the one to tell the President this.

Tiger's People: "Tiger is not in partnership with Mr. Trump or his organization and stating otherwise is absolutely wrong."

As reported by Alan Shipnuck in a lengthy Sports Illustrated look at President Donald Trump's connections to golf, a purported comment to Bedminster members--"The White House is a real dump"--has been picked up by AP and many other news agencies.

More interesting of the many anecdotes and backstories is the distance Tiger's camp wants to have from the President. Damac Properties has commissioned Woods' design operation to do a course at Trump Dubai

Shipnuck writes:

The biggest name in golf is now linked to the President through the Trump World Golf Club Dubai, which is slated to open in 2018. "My father and Tiger have been friends for a long time," Eric Trump told Golf.com in a '16 interview. "They've been very, very close. When you combine Trump and Tiger, it's a match made in heaven." But in a statement to Golf.com, Woods's spokesman Glenn Greenspan wrote: "Tiger is not in partnership with Mr. Trump or his organization and stating otherwise is absolutely wrong. Tiger Woods Design's contract and obligation is to the developer, Damac Properties. Our association ends there. I can't put it any clearer than Tiger Woods Design does not have an agreement with Mr. Trump."

Deep breaths Glenn, he is, after all, President of the United States. Tiger played golf with him just last December!

And of course there are press releases.

WaPo On Trump LA: "Is the presidency good for Trump’s business?"

The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold and Rob Kuznia analyze numbers and anecdotal evidence to conclude that Trump National Los Angeles has taken a financial hit since the November election of Donald Trump.

Unlike Trump Turnberry where I visited last week and saw signs of robust business, Fahrenthold and Kuznia say it's hard to see anything but a residual effect on Trump LA.

Charity golf-tournaments, another core piece of the club’s business, have moved away: ESPN relocated its celebrity tournament. The L.A. Galaxy soccer team withdrew. The L.A. Unified School District also moved, forfeiting a $7,500 deposit it had already paid Trump’s course.

Hollywood, another source of revenue for the club, has largely stopped coming to film TV shows and movies, according to city permit records.

And the club’s wedding business seems to have been affected as well. Couples used to hold big outdoor ceremonies at a city park across the street, then return to Trump National for a reception.

Trump Properties Include (Fictional) Time Magazine Covers

The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold reports what any visitor to a Trump golf property knows: featured prominently on walls are framed magazine covers featuring the now-President.

What we visitors didn't know, however, is that some of the covers are not real.

Time Magazine is demanding that they be taken down in the wake of Fahrenthold's story.

The framed copy of Time magazine was hung up in at least five of President Trump’s clubs, from South Florida to Scotland. Filling the entire cover was a photo of Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump: The ‘Apprentice’ is a television smash!” the big headline said. Above the Time nameplate, there was another headline in all caps: “TRUMP IS HITTING ON ALL FRONTS . . . EVEN TV!”

This cover — dated March 1, 2009 — looks like an impressive memento from Trump’s pre-presidential career. To club members eating lunch, or golfers waiting for a pro-shop purchase, it seemed to be a signal that Trump had always been a man who mattered. Even when he was just a reality TV star, Trump was the kind of star who got a cover story in Time.

But that wasn’t true.

The spoofs are already rolling in... 

Video: Trump Driving Cart On Green Not Going Over Well

Perhaps because I saw him drive all over Doral a few years ago, this one didn't come as a huge shock.

But given everything that's happened, the social media rage over Donald Trump driving on a Trump Bedminster green stands out.

The sinful act occurred June 9th, according to the New York Daily News. 

Trump Bedminster hosts the U.S. Women's Open in less than a month.

A sample of the Tweets from most major sports media:

 

WaPo Headline: “Business sags at Trump’s New York golf course as players stay away”

Thanks to all who sent this story and apologies in advance for questioning what I think is a poor bit of headline writing.

Our late, great friend Frank Hannigan always pointed out to me that the New York Times seemed spectacular until they covered a topic near and dear to your heart by exposing their weaknesses or all-out knowledge blind spots.

So while I’d respect the Times and Washington Post’s efforts to scrutinize the goings-on in Washington, the WaPo’s story on sagging business at Trump Ferry Point seemed like a headline reach (“Business sags at Trump’s New York golf course as players stay away"), which didn’t reflect a mostly-balanced piece of reporting from a small sample-size.

After checking with a few folks, it seems the headline overreached in the effort to see if President Donald Trump’s style, stances and overall forceful nature would impact his businesses.

This is certainly something to watch with his overseas properties and more importantly, with corporate sales at tournaments hosted by his courses. And while the story by Drew Harwell and David Fahrenthold presents signs of reduced play, the copy never matches the headline suggesting golfers are withdrawing in mass numbers from Trump Ferry Point rounds.

In reporting a 12% decrease in revenue over the last year, they write:

These records provide an unusual glimpse inside a business unit of the Trump Organization, during the period when Trump was seeking, then winning and then assuming the presidency. Nearly all of Trump’s other business interests are privately held and offer little transparency regarding their revenue and profits.

The reports show that, in the period between April 2016 and March 2017, golfers played 26,127 rounds at the Bronx course. That was a decline of 2,164 rounds — or about 7 percent — from the previous 12-month period.

As the writers concede, “From the records alone, it is impossible to tell whether politics played a role in the business decline at the Trump course.” And credit to them for citing Tom Stine’s assertion that a one-year 12% drop isn’t alarming enough in such a fickle weather market.

The rough summer of 2016 saw a 15% uptick in inclement weather days for Ferry Point according to The Trump Organization when contacted by this website. Also, private outings were limited to free up the tee sheet for residents, also cutting into rounds recorded.

Most interesting, the story does not cite whether play was up, down or flat at other New York City courses where similar weather or other trends could have impacted rounds played.

John Daly: Americans Need To Get On Donald Trump's Wagon

Normally I'd suggest John Daly abstain from wagon references given his multiple climbs on and off the wagon, but the man loves his President Trump and the job the 45th president is doing.

Ryan Ballengee, reporting from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship That'll Eventually Be Won By Bernhard Langer, quotes the 2-time major champion loving the effort of his friend Donald Trump, unofficial host at Trump National DC.

“There’s been a lot of things go on with the Democrats that people just want to ignore now,” he said. “They don’t, they just want to pick on my buddy. Let him do his job and just see what he does. He’s doing great so far.”

And the wagon talk...

“He’s the President of the United States,” he said. “I think people need to get on his wagon and ride with him and let him do what he’s doing and leave him alone. It’s not going to change for at least, you know, this year and three more.”

Will President Trump Drop In On The Senior PGA At Trump DC?

Ted Bishop wonders that and also reveals a few things about the PGA of America partnership with the Trump Organization as the Senior PGA kicks off this week. The event is being played at Trump National D.C., a potential future PGA Championship site as well.

The former PGA president writes for MorningRead.com:

Any chance that President Trump might make a last-minute visit to the Senior PGA on Sunday? Trump, an avid golfer whose business empire includes ownership of 16 courses, no doubt would love to make an appearance. Would it be deemed a conflict of interest, given his role as the nation’s chief executive and his detachment from his businesses, if he were to do so?

“Unfortunately, I wouldn’t know the answer to that one as it is ‘church and state,’ and I have not spoken with him,” said Larry Glick, an executive vice president with Trump Organization.