Trump in Palm Beach: ‘Very good golfer’ fits in 18 holes with Tiger


Between a pronouncement on nuclear proliferation and meetings with transition staff at his Mar-a-Lago Club on Friday, President-elect Donald Trump got in 18 holes of golf with Tiger Woods at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.

Part-time Palm Beach resident Trump and Jupiter Island resident Woods hit the links about 8:30 a.m. They were joined by Trump International golf pro John Nieporte and by an associate of Woods, according to Gary Wiren, the director of instruction at Trump International.

“It was just a social kind of event,” Wiren said when asked how Trump and Woods scored on the Jim Fazio-designed course off Summit Boulevard. The golfers had lunch at the club after their round, Wiren said.

Woods, whose 14 major championships are second only to the 18 won by northern Palm Beach County resident Jack Nicklaus, is no stranger to golfing with Secret Service protection.

Woods played with President Barack Obama at the Floridian Golf Club in Palm City in 2013 and in 2015. He has also golfed with former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Woods golfed Friday in a black hat with his “TW” logo while Trump wore one of his signature red “Make America Great Again” hats, according to pictures on social media.

Woods also sported a dyed goatee, a vestige of the “Mac Daddy Santa” look he revealed Thursday in a shirtless picture he posted on Twitter. Woods tweeted that his appearance was an “Xmas tradition that my kids love.”

Trump, who has often boasted of his golfing skill and has a reported 2.8 handicap, was ranked 12th this past month when Golf Digest compiled a list of “Washington D.C.’s Top 150 Golfers.”

Obama ranks 113th on the list with a handicap of 13. Vice President Joe Biden has a 10 handicap and ranks 68th, while Vice President-elect Mike Pence ranks 127th with a handicap of 15.

Clinton — who had to abort a 1997 Florida golf trip when he tore a knee ligament in a stumble at golfer Greg Norman’s Jupiter Island home — ranks 129th on the Golf Digest list with a 16 handicap.

Former Republican state Rep. Carl Domino of Jupiter, a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, said he witnessed Trump’s golfing prowess when he played a round with Trump and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., at Trump International about three years ago.

In a foreshadowing of the 2016 presidential race, Domino said Trump finished well ahead of Paul (who dropped his White House bid after the Iowa caucuses) and the others in the group.

“No exaggeration, he shot even par on the round,” said Domino, who said Trump would have finished two or three strokes under par if he hadn’t come up short on a few putts.

“He was much better than the rest of us,” Domino said. “He’s a very good golfer, very serious about it.”

Trump’s golf outing came shortly after he spoke with MSNBC Morning Joe co-host Mika Brezinski about a Thursday tweet in which Trump said the U.S. “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

In a phone conversation during a break in the show, Brezinski said that Trump told her: “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass…and outlast them all.”

While Trump was on the golf course Friday, his transition team released a Dec. 15 letter Trump received from Russian President Vladimir Putin expressing hope that “we will be able — by acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner — to take real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation in different areas as well as bring our level of collaboration on the international scene to a qualitatively new level.”

Trump called it “A very nice letter from Vladimir Putin; his thoughts are so correct. I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts, and we do not have to travel an alternate path.”

Trump’s motorcade left the golf course shortly before 2 p.m., according to a pool report, to make the 4.6-mile trip to Mar-a-Lago, where a spokeswoman said the president-elect planned meetings with “high-level staff.”



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