7th November in Golfnews by
One year after his election, President Trump’s golf game continues to attract lots of attention – whether he likes it or not – and some big-time pros.
Trump played 9 holes with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and world No. 4 golfer Hideki Matsuyama Sunday during his current Asia trip.
A Trump administration official told CNN that no one kept score Sunday. It was not clear if Trump used the $3,755 gold-plated driver Abe gifted him last year.
When Trump played host to Abe in Florida earlier this year, he brought along his pal Ernie Els for that match.
Matsuyama said during the WGC-HSBC Champions he planned to keep the conversation away from politics and that it was “an honor” to play with the two leaders. Matsuyama earned three PGA Tour victories and tied for second at the US Open before struggling later in 2017.
Trump was effusive his in praise of Matsuyama, who averaged 303 yards off the tee this past season.
“[Matsuyama] is the greatest player in the history of Japan,” Trump told reporters en-route to Japan. “Possibly their greatest celebrity … He’s a truly great player, a great athlete … If I come back and say I was longer than him, don’t believe it.”
Golf was once a respite for the commander in chief. The time any president ever spent on the course was rarely noticed by the masses and only covered by media types as a perfunctory task.
As many as 16 presidents, including Trump, have played golf on a regular basis. The golfing skills of our national leaders have ranged from pretty good (Eisenhower was a member of Augusta National) to horrid (Calvin Coolidge left his clubs at the White House). Political pot shots and late-night jokes (meaning Johnny Carson jabs) came with the territory, but not much else.
The golf course has become a metaphorical battlefield in modern day politics – along with just about everywhere else. Bunkers offer little shelter from attacks on social media and elsewhere. Our partisan divide has torn up every green played by Trump and his immediate predecessors.
Whatever noise came with the hearty golf appetite of President Obama has been magnified by infinity given President Trump’s love of the links.
Any “official” accounting of his golfing trips is “unofficial” since the White House does not those numbers public and often avoids discussing his outings. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump has been tracking Trump’s golf forays in 2017.
“Trump vs. Obama golf” turns up more than 1 million hits on Google. A site called TrumpGolfCount.com has Trump’s number of golf outings at 73 since he took office.
Some outings since Trump’s election have been far more visible than others. The press is often kept away from his rounds, especially when they occur at one his own resorts in Virginia, Florida or New Jersey.
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