Presidents Cup: Trump dedicates U.S. trophy to those affected by hurricanes

Oct 1, 2017; Jersey City, NJ, USA; President Donald J. Trump (left) hands the Presidents Cup trophy to U.S. team Captain Steve Stricker after the final round singles matches of The President's Cup golf tournament at Liberty National Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images

Presidents Cup: Trump dedicates U.S. trophy to those affected by hurricanes

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Presidents Cup: Trump dedicates U.S. trophy to those affected by hurricanes

 

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – President Donald Trump descended on the Presidents Cup Sunday, presenting the trophy to the winning American squad, which routed the International team 19-11 in the biennial golf match.

Marine One, the green-and-white helicopter used exclusively by the American President, made a 40-mile flight from Trump National Golf Club Bedminster to Liberty National Golf Club on a cloudless Sunday afternoon, delivering Trump in dramatic fashion at 2:45 p.m. ET. 

In keeping with a tradition established in 1998, Trump, as the head of state of the Presidents Cup’s host nation, was an honorary chairman of the event. He was, however, the first such dignitary to take part in the trophy ceremony. 

At 6 p.m. ET, as the teams assembled on the 14th green, Trump congratulated members of the International team, shaking hands with each player and posing for photos. He chatted briefly with Australia’s Adam Scott, South Africa’s Ernie Els (an assistant captain) and Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas, who defeated Jordan Spieth in singles play Sunday.

Trump then walked toward the American team and went down the line shaking hands with them, starting with captain Steve Stricker and Justin Thomas, then working his way to other players, wives and the caddies.

Trump received a hearty round of applause when The Golf Channel’s Steve Sands introduced him, and then said that the American team’s win would be dedicated to all the people of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico who have been affected by recent hurricanes. Trump has come under fire from San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz for not being responsive enough to her constituents’ plight.

“On behalf of all of the people of Texas, of all of the people of … if you look today, if you see what’s happening, how horrible it is but we have it under really great control, Puerto Rico, and the people of Florida, who are really suffering over this last short period of time with hurricanes. I want to just remember them and we are going to dedicate this trophy to all of those people that went through so much.

“And I tell you what, I’ve been watching this from the beginning, and I have to say our Team USA, wow, did you play well.”

Trump never ventured to other holes, but earlier in the day he took in the action on the 14th hole from the second floor of Liberty National’s glass-and-steel clubhouse. Jay Monahan, the commissioner of the PGA Tour, and the president’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., joined him there.

Behind the 14th green, fans craned their necks and pointed their smartphones at the clubhouse, hoping to catch a glimpse of Trump.

“Dude, check out the photo I just got of Donny,” said Steve Lombardi from Parsippany, N.J., as he flashed his phone at his four friends.

There was no sign of any anti-Trump sentiment among the fans.

When Matt Kuchar walked off the green having won the 14th hole against the International team’s Charl Schwartzel, Trump waved down to the American player and flashed a thumb’s up. Kuchar looked up, saw the gesture, smiled and waved back at the president as the crowd roared.

Unlike several NFL players before games on Sunday, none of the United States Presidents Cup players took a knee during the closing ceremony. That was no surprise because, on Tuesday, Stricker said, “We’ve had a discussion already, and none of my players want to do that.”

Three former Presidents were on hand at the tournament Thursday to see the opening tee shots of the competition, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The trio took selfies with members of the American team, greeted the players’ wives and took in the scene on a blustery afternoon. However, moments after his helicopter landed at Liberty National on Sunday, Trump seemed to take a swipe at each of them when he tweeted about the futility in negotiating with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. “Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won’t fail.”

After the ceremony concluded, Trump went back into the clubhouse before heading to his motorcade and making the 1/2-mile drive back to the awaiting helicopter. As the sun set, Marine One took off and the half-dozen heavily-armed patrol boats that had been circled the cove behind Liberty National dispersed. The United States Presidents Cup team had already begun its celebration.

 

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