Cristie Kerr thrilled for her friend, the Pres­i­dent-elect

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Tim Reynolds

A friend of Cristie Kerr just hap­pened to get a new job, and she’s hop­ing to get a chance to call and con­grat­u­late him.

Thing is, it’s a lit­tle tough to get the next Pres­i­dent of the United States on the phone.

Kerr is a sup­porter of Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, and even con­sid­ers her oc­ca­sional golf­ing buddy a friend. She made an ap­pear­ance on his re­al­ity show “The Ap­pren­tice,” had a re­la­tion­ship of sorts with the Trump Golf brand and has held hon­orary mem­ber­ship at his cour­ses for years.

And now, she’s thrilled that he’s about to be­come First Golfer, too.

“I haven’t talked to him. I haven’t had a chance to con­grat­u­late him,” Kerr said as she pre­pared for Thurs­day’s start of the LPGA sea­so­nend­ing CME Group Tour Cham­pi­onship, which she won last year. “I just still can’t be­lieve he’s Pres­i­den­t­elect of the United States. I mean, ev­ery time I say it, it’s like, ‘Wow. Re­ally?’ It’s just so shock­ing, all these protests around the coun­try. It’s a fair and square elec­tion. Ev­ery­one got to vote.”

Trump has a long­stand­ing re­la­tion­ship with pro golf, some of it good, some not so good.

He’s hosted men’s and women’s events in the past, though his course in Do­ral, Florida, near Mi­ami is off this sea­son’s PGA Tour sched­ule for the first time in more than 50 years — mainly be­cause no spon­sor could be found to sup­port a tour­na­ment there. Dur­ing a break in his cam­paign last spring, Trump said he played a quick nine holes with LPGA player Lexi Thomp­son.

Trump has said his be­ing pres­i­dent would help golf.

“I love golf. I love play­ing it. It’s a very im­por­tant game,” Trump said at Do­ral ear­lier this year. “It’s a great game. You can learn so much. You make so many great friends by play­ing it. But I will say this: It won’t be good for my game, but it’ll be great for golf.”

His Trump National course in New Jersey is sched­uled to host next year’s U.S. Women’s Open, though three Demo­cratic U.S. se­na­tors asked last month to have it moved else­where. The United States Golf As­so­ci­a­tion has not moved the event, but those who run the game have ex­pressed con­cern over Trump’s po­lar­iz­ing com­ments.

The USGA, PGA Tour, LPGA and PGA of Amer­ica re­leased a joint state­ment in 2015 to dis­tance them­selves from Trump’s ex­plo­sive re­marks about Mex­i­can im­mi­grants when he an­nounced his cam­paign for pres­i­dent. Those com­ments com­pli­cated mat­ters when it came time to try and find a new spon­sor for Do­ral.

Trump re­pelled large swaths of the pop­u­lace, in­clud­ing women and mi­nori­ties, with his deeply di­vi­sive rhetoric dur­ing the cam­paign, but Kerr be­lieves his cor­po­rate savvy will ben­e­fit the coun­try.

“The per­son that I’ve known over the years, he al­ways does what he says he’s go­ing to do and he sur­rounds himself with re­ally smart peo­ple,” Kerr said. “I’m re­ally happy for him. I hope peo­ple will grow to un­der­stand that he is a man of his word and he can get things done. Hope­fully he’ll be the CEO of this coun­try like he’s been the CEO of his busi­nesses.”

Kerr’s re­la­tion­ship with Trump goes back more than a decade. She de­fended him last year and said that some of her LPGA col­leagues are big fans of his as well.

“I don’t think peo­ple un­der­stand how mod­er­ate he is,” Kerr said. “He’s fis­cally con­ser­va­tive. He wants to get the coun­try back on track. But he’s a lit­tle bit so­cially lib­eral from some as­pects. Hope­fully peo­ple can get to know him.”

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