Wednesday 13 December 2017

Ego-driven Trump eager to sink pearly whites into Doral revamp

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Karl MacGinty

'THE Donald' was holding court, welcoming the media to this week's Cadillac Championship on The Blue Monster, one of five courses at the Trump National Doral Resort, which he recently acquired for $162m.

After a relatively brief but lively monologue in which Trump outlined his $250m plans to rebuild the 800-acre property, questions were invited from the floor.

Compared with Wednesday morning's forensic dissection of Rory McIlroy in the interview room at the media centre, it was ego-tickling at its gentlest.

"How is your own golf these days and do you get much chance to play," he was asked.

"How is my game, Merrick?" said Trump, turning to one of the suited flunkeys standing by the window to his right.

"Very good," came the reply. Even Waylon Smithers would have been impressed with the way the world 'very' was emphasised.

"I've won 17 club championships," said Trump, a single-figure handicap, enthusiastically taking his cue.

This guy feasts on the deference of others.

It was like a scene from the Woody Allen movie 'Bananas' when he was asked beforehand by one English reporter if he ever fancied his chances in the political arena.

With a straight face, Trump replied that he regretted pulling out of the last election because, he said with a disconcerting measure of certainty, he could have beaten Obama.

As he posed for a few photographs on the dais, one was struck by two things.

First, how well his infamously unruly thatch was behaving. Second, how Trump's teeth glowed as bright as Ross Geller's in Friends every time he flashed a smile at the camera.

Love, lick or lampoon him, Trump still is one heck of a mover-and-shaker in the world of golf.

Look beyond the ructions he's caused with a few unfortunate neighbours at the Martin Hawtree-designed Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen and you'll find a truly phenomenal course which seems set to mature into one of Scotland's finest links.

It was refreshing to hear him say of the Blue Monster at Doral "we're blowing up the course after the tournament. No party, just a funeral.

"I was going to say it was going to get nuked but I refuse to use that expression.

"What was a monster 25 years ago isn't a monster anymore," he explained, adding: "We're going to do Doral right" with "very drastic changes" in a "massive construction" which "will be completely done two months before next year's tournament."

Failure is not an option.

As Trump and his entourage moved towards the exit, we shouted an 'Irish question' over the shoulder of a beefy bodyguard: 'Are you planning to acquire or build any courses in Ireland, Mr Trump?'

"I guess it's possible, right?" he replied.

Adare Manor, perhaps, we ventured. "When you can buy 'em for 10 cents in the dollar, I've no interest," Trump said.

What an interesting and revealing response, especially given the quality of the Robert Trent Jones course at Adare, plus the location and potential of the Co Limerick resort.

Irish Independent

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