Trump's Women's Open visit a security challenge

By Associated PressJuly 14, 2017, 10:22 pm

BEDMINSTER, N.J. - Some of the best golfers in the world are competing in New Jersey this weekend - and vying for attention with a guy whose best finish was an age-group club title.

That would be President Donald Trump.

The president's arrival at his club on Friday created such a commotion that crowds at the U.S. Women's Open were asked to keep it down as golfers Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson and Stacy Lewis approached the 15th green.

Trump, fresh off a quick trip to France, turned up in a glassed-off patio of the clubhouse with son Eric by his side.

Acknowledging the crowds, the president waved, pointed and gave a thumbs-up, prompting squeals from a group of schoolgirls. Dozens of people swarmed around the clubhouse snapping photos and waving as the president occasionally approached the window.

Trump's presence did pose a distraction to players. Chinese golfer Shanshan Feng said she could hear crowds screaming for the president from the 15th green.

And asked if she could tell which direction the crowds were looking, Thompson told reporters, ''not toward the golf.''

Trump's visit during the weekend tournament also poses a security challenge because his residence is on the course, where fans and players pass by throughout the day.

But the tournament's director said of Trump's visit: ''We're ready.''


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The event was expected to draw protesters critical of the U.S. Golf Association, which operates the tournament, for not moving it to a different venue after audio surfaced last year in which Trump made derogatory comments about women.

Trump has a history of making lewd and highly sexual comments toward and about women. An Access Hollywood tape released a month before the 2016 presidential election caught him bragging about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women who were not his wife.

Trump has spent several weekends at the club since his election in November but none during an event of this magnitude: 156 golfers and their entourages, and thousands of fans.

He's the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women's Open and the third to attend a USGA event. Warren G. Harding in 1921 and Bill Clinton in 1997 also attended a USGA event while serving as president, viewing the U.S. Open.

While the connection between American presidents and major sporting events is well-established - the tradition of throwing out the first pitch on baseball's opening day dates back to the early 20th century, for example - so are the security challenges.

Trump's residence at the course sits on more than 600 acres of rolling hills in central New Jersey farmland, where a steady stream of players and fans will be walking throughout the four days.

Maintaining boundaries between the president and the public is crucial, as is being able to adjust on the fly, according to Thom Bolsch, a retired Secret Service agent who served under Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

''Any movement that a protectee makes, the script is probably about 95 percent solid, where we know what he's doing and we've briefed the staff and the staff has briefed him,'' Bolsch told The Associated Press. ''But they're human and a lot of times they see people they know, or they see a crowd. They're politicians and they need to go and kiss babies, and they're going to go do it.''

At a visit last month, for instance, Trump surprised a couple celebrating their wedding at the club and posed for pictures with them.

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."

Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

Ko told GolfChannel.com Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

“It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday: 

"It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."