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Friday, May 4, 2012

Trump Gets an Open

On the outside chance you haven't heard, Donald Trump's Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster NJ will be hosting the U.S. Women's Open in 2017. If you want to read more about it -- and you're too lazy to Google and choose from the thousand or so articles that have been (and will be) written about it -- you can get the basics from this New Jersey Star-Ledger article.

Trump takes his prize

I wanted to write a few words about this because a conspiracy theory of sorts is starting to brew in golf circles:
  • As you are no doubt aware, Trump already bought the Doral Resort & Spa -- site of the WGC-Cadillac Championship -- which gave him a presence on the PGA Tour.
  • He's been involved with tournaments on the LPGA Tour in the past. The Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida hosted the ADT Championship while it lasted.
  • Trump National-Bedminster has already hosted the U.S. Junior Amateur and Girls Junior championships back in 2009.
The theory is that Trump wants to become a major player in golf (sorry, couldn't resist) at any and all costs... and he's buying his way into the inner circle of the powers-that-be.

Depending on who you talk to, this is somewhat akin to the Evil Empire striking a deal with the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars. Trump is one of those guys we all love to hate. There's a reason that, when DC Comics recreated all their superheroes and super-villains, Lex Luthor morphed from a mad scientist to a corporate executive. It was the most evil thing they could imagine!

I have a confession to make. I am a closet supporter of the Donald. No, I don't watch The Apprentice -- I have no use for most reality TV -- and I had no intentions of voting for him if he ran for President.

But I think Donald Trump may be just what professional golf needs right now.

I have no doubt that Trump will potentially make a fortune off his golf involvement. That's called free enterprise, and it's one of the principles that encouraged (and still encourages) people to come to America and try to make it a better place.

But what I think makes Trump different from other potential investors is that he is truly passionate about golf as a game. He doesn't just want to "do golf" -- he wants to do it right. He gets personally involved with the design of his courses. (Btw, he had Tom Fazio and Tom Fazio II design the courses at Trump National.) And he wants his courses to be the best courses the players ever set foot on. In a lot of ways he's like Herb Kohler, who saved St. Andrews when it went into bankruptcy -- just as Trump saved Doral -- and built Whistling Straits, which hasn't turned out to be such a bad place.

So, I just wanted to take a moment -- in the midst of all the potential naysayers who'll speak up as we go forward -- to thank Donald Trump for saving Doral and for taking such a personal interest in golf. When Trump is interested, lots of people get interested.

And if they don't, I suppose they'll all be fired.

The photo came from the Star-Ledger article.

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