When Donald Trump played in the pro-am leading up to the LIV Golf Series event on his course at Bedminster, New Jersey, his group was the only one with carts — most of them occupied by a large group of Secret Service that tailed the former president — he offered tips on how to play the course to Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau and several times he praised the course. Unprompted.
Expect the same Thursday with Trump scheduled to play in the pro-am the day before LIV’s final event of the season starts at Trump National Doral.
The pro-am is not open to the public.
Trump’s group will play 18 holes with two pros, one each on the front and back nine. He played with Johnson and DeChambeau at Bedminster in July and his group was 6 under, one stroke off the lead. The pros in Trump’s group at Doral will be determined Wednesday.
“It was an honor,” DeChambeau said following his nine holes with Trump in July. “I mean, anytime you get to play with a president, whether past or sitting, it’s just an honor, no matter who it is. Very lucky to have a relationship with him and he’s always been generous to me.”
Trump has aligned himself with LIV, the breakaway tour financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, partly because of his disdain for the PGA Tour. Two of LIV’s eight events in its inaugural season will have been held on Trump properties and LIV’s schedule could include more Trump courses next season as it expands to 14 events.
In July, Trump told golfers on the PGA Tour to, “take the money now,” predicting the Tour would eventually merge with LIV Golf. Trump’s anger at professional golf stems from the PGA Tour moving its World Golf Championship event out of Doral and to Mexico in 2017 and the PGA of America moving the 2022 PGA Championship out of his club in Bedminster after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.
“All of those golfers that remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA, in all of its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ from PGA officials who are making Millions of Dollars a year,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
Trump is an avid golfer who has played several rounds with Hall of Famers and legendary golfers at his courses in West Palm Beach and Jupiter. He is believed to have played more golf than any other president while in office. During his round at Bedminster he said, “there’s no other president that can hit it like I can,” according to DeChambeau.
“That’s the funny one he talks about all the time,” DeChambeau added. “You know, it’s true from what I’ve seen, what I’ve heard, obviously I haven’t played with other presidents, but he’s up there.”
DeChambeau was asked about Trump’s game.
“He’s actually a really good golfer,” he said. “He stripes it down the middle of the fairway and has good iron game and putts it pretty well.”
Hall of Famer Ernie Els, who lives in Jupiter, has played several times with Trump and was in Trump’s foursome in April when the former president made a hole-in-one at his course in West Palm Beach.
“He hits the ball better than I’ve seen any … I mean he’s 75 (now 76),” Els told the Palm Beach Post in April. “But he can really strike the ball. He makes good contact. He’s got a good swing.
“Like any amateur, you got to do the short game practice. I keep talking to him about his chipping. He’s a pretty good putter. Back in his day, he had to be a 4- or 5-handicap. Today, he’s probably a 10, 12.”
Trump was asked in July how many holes-in-one he’s had in his life.
“Seven. Seven, legitimately,” he said. “People say, ‘Oh wow,’ I legitimately have had seven.”
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Story originally appeared on GolfWeek