Woods hits golf links with Trump

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Tiger Woods, who played golf three years ago with Barack Obama, played 18 holes on Fri­day with Don­ald Trump at the real es­tate mogul’s Trump In­ter­na­tional Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida. Woods, who will cel­e­brate his 41st birth­day on Dec 30, re­turned to com­pe­ti­tion this month af­ter a 15-month in­jury lay­off. He joined the pres­i­den­t­elect in a four­some, a spokes­woman for Trump’s tran­si­tion team said, with Trump de­part­ing via mo­tor­cade af­ter the round for his Mar-a-Lago es­tate.

He planned to go from there to the West Palm Beach Hil­ton, and had meetings with “high-level staffers” planned later in the day, press sec­re­tary Stephanie Gr­isham said. Trump’s tran­si­tion team didn’t of­fer any im­me­di­ate de­tails on the round, or what the pres­i­dent-elect and for­mer world num­ber one Woods talked about. In Feb 2013, 14-time ma­jor cham­pion Woods played with Obama at a pri­vate golf re­sort in Florida.

Obama and Woods teamed up to de­feat US trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ron Kirk and Hous­ton Astros owner Jim Crane. That golf out­ing was crit­i­cized af­ter it came to light that it ended up cost­ing US tax­pay­ers nearly $3.6 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a US Govern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity re­port pub­lished this year. The Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion owns golf cour­ses around the world, in­clud­ing his­toric Turn­berry in Scot­land, which has hosted the Open Cham­pi­onship four times.

How­ever, Trump’s con­tro­ver­sial com­ments on is­sues such as im­mi­gra­tion dur­ing the US pres­i­den­tial cam­paign strained his re­la­tion­ships with some in the golf world.

The PGA of Amer­ica stripped its 2015 Grand Slam of Golf from Trump Na­tional Los An­ge­les af­ter Trump’s com­ments on Mex­i­can im­mi­grants, and the event was later dis­con­tin­ued. Ac­tivist Martha Burk is among those who have called for the US Golf As­so­ci­a­tion to move the 2017 US Women’s Open from Trump Na­tional in New Jer­sey, a de­mand the USGA has re­jected.

The US PGA Tour moved its long­stand­ing tour­na­ment at Trump Na­tional Do­ral in the Miami area to Mex­ico City for the 2016-17 sea­son, although tour com­mis­sioner Tim Finchem said in June that the move of the World Golf Cham­pi­onships event was not a “po­lit­i­cal ex­er­cise”. How­ever, Finchem ac­knowl­edged that hav­ing the Trump brand on the host course of the event made it harder to find a spon­sor to re­place out­go­ing Cadil­lac, since Trump would share the lime­light with any other cor­po­rate backer.

Although Trump blasted Obama dur­ing the cam­paign for play­ing too much golf, Golf Di­gest mag­a­zine re­cently listed the pres­i­dent-elect as among the best golfers in Wash­ing­ton with a 2.8 hand­i­cap. — AFP

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