It’s well known that Donald Trump has a strong golf game, but here are some other presidents who have had success on the links.
USA TODAY Sports
BEDMINSTER, N.J. — Following days of speculation, President Trump officially became the story of the U.S. Women’s Open on Friday.
Waving from his motorcade as it made its way through Trump National Golf Club, Trump was greeted by sparse crowds amid the wet weather by the time he arrived a little after 3:30 p.m. ET. Nevertheless, those who remained congregated around the course’s clubhouse as word began to spread, cheering the arrival of the first sitting president ever to attend this tournament.
Trump’s involvement with the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open has long preceded his presidency.
The U.S. Golf Association awarded the Open to Trump National in 2012, but during his presidential campaign last year questions were raised about holding the event at the course. A group of three U.S. Senators called on the organization to move the event. When the USGA confirmed it wouldn’t move the tournament late last year, critics said Trump should avoid visiting at the risk of politicizing it.
Trump confirmed on Twitter Friday morning that he would visit the course after returning from Paris on Bastille Day.
“We welcome him,” the USGA said in a statement. “It is the first time a sitting president has attended the U.S. Women’s Open and is only the third occurrence in our entire championship history.”
When he did arrive, Trump greeted the crowd from his car as he continued on to his residence on the property. Eric Trump, one of Trump’s sons, appeared on the grounds hours earlier, pausing for a host of selfies with fans as he made his way to the clubhouse, where he spent time acknowledging spectators below.
President Trump reemerged about two hours later with Eric Trump to make his way to a box overlooking the course’s 16th tee and 10th and 18th greens. He gave a thumbs-up and waved to a group of about 200 spectators cheering him before settling in to watch the tournament.
“Don’t listen to them!” yelled one spectator. “Make America great again!”
Tournament officials told players to expect increased security ahead of the president’s arrival. New Jersey State Police stationed officers around a number of the course’s central hubs, and armed guards made frequent trips around the clubhouse complex.
It didn’t go unnoticed by those competing this week.
“I’ve always secretly wanted to be a Secret Service agent,” said Angela Stanford, who followed her two-under 70 on Thursday with a 72. “It’s pretty cool, to have Secret Service at your major golf tournament.”
Players who avoided commenting on Trump ahead of the event grew excited by his presence.
“I never played in front of the president in Korea and I never met the president of Korea, but I’m very grateful that I might have a chance to meet the president of the United States,” said Jeongeun Lee, the clubhouse leader at 6-under after the second round’s morning wave. She would be passed at the top of the leaderboard by Shanshan Feng, who shot 70 to get to eight-under.
“How many chances are you going to get to play on a president’s golf course during a U.S. Open?” added Stanford.
Marin Alex, who followed her opening-round 71 with a 70 on Friday, said Trump’s appearance was good for the women’s game.
“Regardless of your political affiliation and whether you are a fan of Trump or you’re not, having a president at a women’s golf event is pretty remarkable. It’s going to draw attention to women’s golf that has maybe never been in our favor before,” she said.
“We have an unbelievable group of talented women playing golf right now. If it’s allowing more people to see us play our game, I don’t see anything wrong with that.”