SI's Michael Bamberger had the uneviable task of playing each of Donald Trump'sDavid Fay bloated golf courses and filed a lengthy essay on his good times. Well, at least the online version seems a lot longer than the print version, or maybe I just missed a page? Anyway, a few nuggets, including this on the USGA and Executive Director David Fay.
In the men's locker room, on darkly stained doors with gold hinges, there were lockers bearing the names of several USGA executives. Working at the USGA is about like working in a university, in terms of salary and benefits, and the initiation fee at Bedminster is $350,000, with annual dues of around $18,000. The club's not meant for those living in the genteel poverty of golf administration.
"Do you have corporate memberships here?" I asked Trump.
"No," he quickly answered.
"What about for the USGA guys?" I asked.
"For them I do." It meant this: The top USGA executives were welcome at the club as honorary members. Certain USGA executives have enjoyed such privileges at various nearby oldline clubs, clubs owned by their memberships. But Trump's a new kind of personality for the USGA, and his course is a new kind of course.
Which is exactly why they should decline!
Hmm...fast forward to this long overdue clarification.
On Jan. 21 USA Today published a front-page story that outlined Trump's golfing ambitions, most particularly his desire to have a U.S. Open at Bedminster, his New Jerseycourse. But there was one paragraph in the story that caused problems. In the story Trump describes David Fay, the executive director of the USGA, as a member of the club who plays the course frequently and has a locker near Trump's.
Fay read the story, seething. He told me later that he was only an honorary member and that he had played the course as an honorary member exactly once, and that if he had a locker there, he knew nothing about it.
Whoa there. So he did accept an honorary membership from a guy who you know badly wants a U.S. Open? And you thought the Donald wouldn't take advantage in his own special way? Okay!