Donald Trump to visit Blue Monster

Graeme McDowell earns late spot in event after finishing fifth in Honda Classic

 Dustin Johnson and Donald Trump pose  after Johnson won last year’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral Blue Monster Course in Doral, Florida. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Dustin Johnson and Donald Trump pose after Johnson won last year’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral Blue Monster Course in Doral, Florida. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

 

US presidential hopeful Donald Trump, owner of the Doral resort in Florida, which plays host to this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship, is expected to leave the campaign – if only for a day – to attend the tournament which, it seems, has an uncertain future at the venue.

“I’ll be there very limited because I have the Secret Service [advising], but I’ll be there,” Trump told Golfweek magazine.

What remains uncertain, however, is whether or not Trump and the PGA Tour will have any discussions on future stagings on the Blue Monster course. The PGA Tour, which sees itself as being inclusive, objected last December to comments made by Trump concerning Muslims and Mexicans and, in a statement, promised to review matters. The event has been staged at Doral every year since 2007.

“Immediately after the completion of the 2016 tournament, we will explore all options regarding the event’s future,” it said, adding: “ Mr Trump’s comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf.”

The Tour has not commented any further, other than to confirm that a review will take place at the conclusion of the tournament, where Dustin Johnson is defending champion.

Second Captains

Trump – his helicopter parked close to the ninth hole – has been a regular attendee at the tournament in previous years, going so far as to get a diver to retrieve a club Rory McIlroy had thrown into the water so that he could present it back to him.

Speculation

One of those to earn a late spot in the field was Graeme McDowell, whose fifth-placed finish behind winner Adam Scott in the Honda Classic ensured he stayed inside the top-10 on the current FedEx Cup standings, which entitled him to a category exemption into the limited field, no-cut tournament.

McDowell jumped from 73rd to 55th in the latest world rankings on the back of his finish in the Honda and joins Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry in the field. The Northern Irishman’s entry into the field at Doral means he will likely play five straight tournaments, moving on to next week’s Valspar Championship and then the Arnold Palmer Invitational before playing the WGC-Dell Matchplay.

In talking of taking “a few steps in the right direction” with his performance in the Honda, having played in Dubai last month whilst suffering from ’flu, McDowell said: “I really am very positive about a lot of aspects of my game, the way I’m driving the ball, my iron play. I just need to clean my short iron play up. It’s not where it needs to be and that’s one of my strengths. I’m just not quite dialled in with the short irons, but everything else is really, really in good shape.”

He added: “In this game, we talk about process a lot, but we need results to back up the processes to tell us we’re on the right path. So I’ve been hitting it unbelievably in practice, and it’s nice to take it onto the course and get some reward out of it.

“You need that little bit of legitimisation of what you’re doing to keep you working harder, as well. Like I say, really happy with a lot of things I’ve got going on. I feel like I can really have a big year . . . . just stay patient with it.”

Busy schedule

Of course, one of those weeks will be the Masters at Augusta, having earned his ticket there with last year’s win in the Mayakoba Classic.

McDowell wasn’t alone in getting into the field for Doral through the FedEx Cup mechanism. Smylie Kaufman, Fabian Gomez and Jason Dufner also earned spots through that route, while South Africa’s Jaco Van Zyl’s win in the Eye of Africa Championship enabled him to creep inside the world’s top 50 to earn his ticket.

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