Sports

LIV Golf Comes to Bedminster, and Trump Plays Host, and 18 Holes

BEDMINSTER, NJ — Walking alongside Donald Trump as he performs golf is rather a lot like watching his presidency: He tells you ways nicely he is doing, errors are disregarded and the one fixed is an limitless stream of group pictures with Trump blithely flashing a toothy grin and a thumbs up.

It was as entertaining, revealing and inexplicable because it sounds.

On Thursday, Trump was a contestant within the pro-am match on the eve of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf occasion he’s internet hosting this weekend on the lavish golf course he inbuilt northwestern New Jersey. The intent of the outing was to group some celebrities and on a regular basis golfers with the professionals, and Trump was, naturally, within the featured first grouping of the day.

While Trump performed a plethora of golf rounds as president, aside from his visitors, few had been ready to witness his golf recreation throughout his 4 years within the White House. The information media was saved at a eliminated distance. But on Thursday, almost 50 media members credentialed for the match — in addition to some occasion officers — would accompany Trump on foot for 18 holes.

Trump’s {golfing} celebration, which included safety, drove in a dozen golf carts, usually two to a cart. But there was one cart predominantly occupied by a single particular person, and it was the one ex-president on the property on the wheel.

For the pro-am, Trump was grouped with two of the perfect gamers to defect to the rival LIV Golf circuit from the PGA Tour: Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, who’ve gained three main championships between them.

About quarter-hour late for his 10 am tee time, Trump stepped onto the primary tee wearing a white shirt and black pants and sweating profusely beneath his signature MAGA hat. He seemed there. To be truthful, at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, which has little shade, nobody strolling the grounds on a damp day with temperatures within the mid-90s was comfy.

Stepping onto the tee, Trump shortly turned the point of interest of greater than a handful of pictures. He would arrange the lineup of the folks within the image, typically giving directions on who ought to stand the place, like a concierge of photograph ops.

Finally, it was time to begin the spherical, and Trump’s opening drive bounded into the left tough. But it was a decent distance from the tee for a 76-year-old, roughly 220 yards.

The format for the pro-am was that every group would choose the perfect tee shot and then play their second pictures from that spot. For the remainder of the opening, they had been anticipated to play their very own ball, wherever it got here to relaxation. It typically made it unimaginable to assign precise scores for any participant, however on the par-4 first gap, Trump wanted 5 strokes to get his ball within the gap for a bogey.

But on the second gap, a telling rhythm for the day’s journey was set by Trump, and it defied the well mannered golf protocol of ready your flip.

After hitting his second shot to the inexperienced, Trump ignored different gamers in his group who had but to hit and jumped into his cart and roared forward. He parked inside a couple of ft of the placing floor (additionally a no-no since it will probably harm the fragile quick grass in that space). Standing within the fairway half a gap behind Trump, Johnson yelled forward since he had but to play his second shot and may have beaned the previous president close to the inexperienced.

Trump put his cart in reverse and moved out of vary. But his barge-ahead fashion of play continued for a lot of the spherical. Often, Trump had putted out on a gap whereas his enjoying companions had been nonetheless 125 yards away within the fairway.

A couple of holes later, Trump stopped to discuss with a gaggle of reporters. He was requested how a lot he may earn by internet hosting the LIV Golf match at his course.

“I do not do it for that. I do it as a result of I believe it is good for golf,” he stated.

Trump smiled.

“The necessary factor is that we’re all enjoying nicely,” he stated.

By that time, Trump had registered, at finest, one par. He had additionally not completed a gap after his blast from a bunker had failed to attain the inexperienced and was nestled in some nasty tough. Instead, he had his caddy decide up the ball and march to the following tee. On one other gap, when a birdie putt rolled almost six ft previous the opening, he casually scooped the ball up to finish the opening, apparently conceding himself a par. Try that this weekend in your match along with your normal foursome. Or any foursome.

At different occasions, a Trump mis-hit would merely be ignored. As if understanding the drill, his caddy would merely retrieve the golf ball from the sand or deep tough and stroll ahead.

Trump, nonetheless, did exhibit a sunny countenance all through. That included a scene that he couldn’t have anticipated. As he stepped onto the tee of a par-3, 176-yard gap over a big pond, he was approached by three comedians who, in live performance with LIV Golf, had been conducting what they referred to as the “Back Off Challenge” in the course of the pro- a.m. The concept was that the comedians, whose undertaking known as Country Club Adjacent, would strive to insult, mock or harass every golfer on the tee to see if they’d again off from the shot earlier than hitting it. The scenes had been being videotaped for the group’s varied social media networks.

Trump agreed to play alongside.

As he stood over the ball, one of many comedians, Blake Webber, stated: “What would your following say if you happen to hit this one left?”

Said Jake Adams: “You constructed a golf course simply to miss the inexperienced?”

And lastly, from Griff Pippin: “Your swing appears to be like damaged. Was it made in China?”

Trump didn’t flinch. But he did slice his shot into the water.

Then, Trump posed with the comedians for a bunch image. He paused a beat and smiled whereas concurrently elevating his proper thumb.

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