As you may have seen by now — I am fully aware that this came out on Sunday and I saw it then, but just forgot to post it — Jack Nicklaus sat down with Jim Axelrod of CBS News and talked about his business relationship with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Nicklaus spoke highly for Trump and even said he’ll vote for him if he’s on the ballot this fall.
This came as no surprise. I’ve only known Nicklaus to speak well of Trump. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard him deliver so many compliments about anyone else. (That’s probably not true, but what stood out to me during my 2013 interview with Nicklaus were his accolades for Trump, and by that token, the same can be said about Trump on himself).
The 18-time major champion has worked with real estate tycoon in the past. Just a few years ago, Nicklaus and Trump, along with Mike Bloomberg, collaborated to (finally) finish a project that had been originally set to open in 2001. Well, things didn’t go as planned for various reasons, so it wasn’t until October 2013 that there was an official ribbon-cutting ceremony for Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, and it took another year and a half for the course to actually open to the public in the spring of 2015.
In October 2013, I wrote a story for the Wall Street Journal on the intriguing project, a former landfill in the Bronx. When I sat down with Nicklaus during the Presidents Cup that year, he had very high praise for Trump, giving him full credit for getting the project finished after the lengthy delays, shady dealings and exorbitant spending. Naturally, Trump was also the first to tell me that the course was near completion thanks to him.
This story was actually one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written in my short career. But I digress.
In the above interview, Nicklaus explained his reason for supporting Trump.
“I don’t want to get political, but I like what Donald has done,” said Nicklaus. “He’s turning America upside down, he’s awakening the country.
“Is he a politician? Is he as smooth and politically correct as he should be? Probably not, but he’ll learn. He’s not stupid. He didn’t get where he was being dumb…
“If he’s the one on the ticket, I’ll be voting for him.”
I’m refraining from commenting further because there’s no use in exerting any energy to share my opinions and I have too much respect for Nicklaus.
Meanwhile, since we’re discussing Trump and golf, last summer golf’s American-based governing bodies — the PGA Tour, the LPGA, the USGA and the PGA of America — issued a joint statement saying they didn’t agree with the presumptive GOP candidate’s controversial comments about Mexican immigrants, and added that they would evaluate whether or not to still hold the planned future championships at Trump’s courses.
Well, the USGA and the PGA of America told Fox News on Monday that the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open, the 2017 Senior PGA Championship and the 2022 PGA Championship will all remain as scheduled at Trump-owned venues.
“While our position on Mr. Trump’s views has been well documented, we are singularly focused on conducting a stellar U.S. Women’s Open at the course, where we have successfully conducted championships in the past,” the (USGA) spokesperson said.
Neither the USGA nor the PGA of America have issued statements explaining their decision to keep their future events at Trump’s courses.