The biggest star of the US Women’s Open golf championship held at the Trump National Golf Club on Friday was not a female golfer.
The President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, arrived to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., just as the number 3 ranked player in the world, Lexi Thompson, who has played with the president in Florida, was set to take a shot, the New York Times reported.
In her haste to impress him with her quick play she muffed her shot.
“I didn’t hit the best shot in front of him,” she said with a laugh.
“I had heard he was coming to the course today. I tried not to focus on it too much,” she told the Times.
But it had to be tough to not pay attention when the crowd erupted in cheers, screams, and chants of “make America great again” and “Mr. President.”
President Trump was accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, who dressed casually in belted slacks and a long sleeve jersey, and his son Eric.
Chinese golfer Shanshan Feng told the Times she knew the cheering was not for her as she approached the 15th green, but she didn’t know what it was for.
“I heard people like kind of screaming so that’s what I was trying to find out, like why they were screaming,” Feng said. “But I was still really focusing on my game. I didn’t really get distracted.”
The Times reported that the women welcomed the president’s presence at the event, he is the first sitting president to attend, because it will increase the attention the event receives.
But the distraction got so intense that a staff member was heard off camera saying “Guys, we still have play going on, folks, all right?”
“It was definitely a little distracting,” 20-year-old amateur golfer Lauren Stephenson said. “We had a lot of people yelling and just a lot of movement, but it’s pretty cool to be in the presence of the president, so I guess he gets a pass.”
“That was kind of what intrigued me to start the week,” former number one ranked player Stacy Lewis, told the Times. “We never had an active sitting president at one of our events, so I was kind of excited about the prospect of, regardless of who it is, that he came here to watch us. He tweeted about coming to the U.S. Women’s Open. Some people didn’t know it was going on.”
Left Paris for U.S.A. Will be heading to New Jersey and attending the#USWomensOpen, their most important tournament, this afternoon.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2017
Fellow golfer Angela Stanford agreed.
“I respect the office of the president,” the 39-year-old said. “How many chances are you going to get to play on a president’s golf course during a U.S. Open?”
Brittany Lincicome, who two weeks ago spoke out against the idea of the president attending so that the focus would be on the golfers, did not make the cut as play is set to continue on Saturday, which the president said he will attend.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2017
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