SBD/July 17, 2017/Events and Attractions

U.S. Women's Open Highlighted By Trump; Did POTUS Appearance Elevate The Event?

Trump made three straight appearances at the U.S. Women's Open
Sung Hyun Park won the U.S. Women's Open yesterday at Trump National Bedminster, and golfers from the U.S. "failed to finish among the top 10" for the first time as President Trump made an appearance for the third straight day, according to Filip Bondy of the N.Y. TIMES. Trump did "not attend the victory ceremony, but he applauded the top two finishers as they passed under his box." Politics "continued to dog the tournament Sunday, the president’s third straight day at the club, as protests directed at him moved inside the gate." When Trump "appeared in his customized tent near the 15th green early in the afternoon, he was greeted with cheers from a gathering of supporters." Trump spent "most of the time with his back turned to the crowd, watching the tournament on a television in his suite" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/17). In New Jersey, Brennan & Carrera note most protests against Trump "took place over the weekend far from the grounds," but that "changed on Sunday." Nearly a dozen protesters "arrived near Trump's skybox behind the 16th tee." But after seeing that they "might cause a distraction for the golfers, the protesters rerouted to a concession stand up the road" (Bergen RECORD, 7/17). In DC, Jesse Dougherty notes a "few different groups" silently protested. Four protesters from UltraViolet, a women’s advocacy group, "wore purple shirts that read, 'USGA: Dump Sexist Trump' and stood as close to Trump’s viewing area as security permitted" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/17). In Newark, Politi & Stypulkoski note that protest began just after 3:00pm ET and "stirred up tensions with some in the crowd" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 7/17). Eric Trump, who runs the Trump Organization's golf properties, said of his father, "He was so relaxed, he was having so much fun. It was nice for him to be outside of Washington" (GOLF.com, 7/16).

A WELCOME DISTRACTION? In N.Y., George Willis writes "you can’t blame those who had their backs to the golf." It is "just a shame they didn’t spend more time watching the spectacular action that took place in the final round." Politics aside, Bedminster "proved a worthy venue, and Park emerged a worthy champion." Willis: "That’s all these ladies wanted" (N.Y. POST, 7/17). On Long Island, Mark Herrmann notes there had been "concerns that Trump would be the Distraction in Chief to the golfers." But instead of it "being a circus or a logistical debacle, it was a smooth event with a solid winner" (NEWSDAY, 7/17). In N.Y., Karen Crouse noted most of the players "described his presence as a welcome distraction." By showing up, Trump "elevated the profile of the women." 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" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/15). Golfer Marina Alex said, "Having a president at a women’s golf event is pretty remarkable. It’s going to draw attention to women’s golf that has maybe never been in our favor before." But asked after Friday's round if she had noticed where fans’ attention was directed, Lexi Thompson said with a smile, “Yeah, not toward the golf.” (WASHINGTON POST, 7/15).

THE REVIEWS ARE IN: GOLF.com's Sean Zak wrote he cannot consider Trump's appearance a "boost for what is already the premiere women's professional golf event in the world." But SI's Alan Shipnuck disagreed, noting Trump "turned this tourney into a big deal with his presence, both here and in the Twitterverse." And all things "considered he kept a low-profile and let the players have the stage." SI's Michael Bamberger: "I thought he would be a big distraction, but he really wasn't. At all. It was actually amazing, how little buzz his presence created." GOLF.com's Marika Washchyshyn: "I was actually surprised at how demure most of the crowds were around the presidential viewing box." GOLF magazine's Joe Passov wrote Trump's presence was "worth the distraction" for the event (GOLF.com, 7/16). The AP's Tom Canavan wrote the tourney "had an even bigger stage with Trump in attendance" (AP, 7/15).
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