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Sports reports: Trump finds diamonds in the rough

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by Ted Turnstiles

September 11, 2019

Donald Trump is famous for being an avid golfer, and infamous for cheating to improve his score. Caddies at one club nicknamed him “Pele” because he was so adept at kicking his ball out of trouble. But new revelation related to Trump’s ownership of a Scottish golf resort raise the spectre of cheating to a new and more sinister level.

Founded in 1906, Royal Turnberry is one of Scotland’s famous links golf clubs. The course has hosted four Open Championships, including the 1977 duel between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus considered one of the greatest matches of all time.

Turnberry has survived many hardships and two world wars, but it may not survive Donald Trump.

Trump bought the course and resort in 2014. The neighbours were appalled. One adjacent farm started flying the flag of Venezuela. Locals began to avoid the course and Turnberry started to lose money, the way so many of Trump’s business endeavours lose money.

As recently as 2017 Trump was reporting losses on his two Scottish courses of over a million dollars. One neighbour reported: “The carpark is rarely even half full. For what was supposedly the best golf course in the world, I don’t really think this is a resounding success.” 

Then, just like in the old westerns, when things looked bleakest came the sound of trumpets … the US cavalry to the rescue.

A tiny village on the Firth of Clyde is hardly on a direct route between the US and the Middle East, but US flight crews and military personnel began to stop over at the high-end resort on their way back and forth. Reports say that the Pentagon added over $3 million in revenue to Trump’s Turnberry in 2018 alone. 

Trump’s allies were outraged–outraged I tell you–at the suggestion that he was using his office to plump his private profits. Kevin McCarthy, leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, provided this convincing defence: “The president's resorts are hotels that he owns. People are traveling. It's just like any other hotel. I know people will look at it, I don't know if that’s different than anything else.”

Score another birdie for "Pele", this one at taxpayer expense.

And just to prove that he’s not shy about mixing politics and profiteering, Trump used the recent G7 summit to tout his Doral Country Club as venue for the next international gathering. The surprise, not to mention improper, suggestion earned some serious side-eye from other leaders. But it means that Trump can slip away from boring, unimportant talks like those on climate change, for a quick 9 holes on a course soon to be swallowed by rising oceans.

Doral, near Miami, needs a boost. A longtime stop on the professional circuit, the PGA stopped using Doral 2017. Its spot in the tournament rotation was given to Mexico City. That’s gotta hurt.

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