It might have been hard to believe during the 25 minutes Donald Trump spent talking to the media in a ballroom within the majestic Turnberry hotel, but the Women's British Open was going on just outside.
In a wide-ranging oration attended by a surely unprecedented mix of political and golf journalists, the owner of the eponymous “Trump Turnberry” took the opportunity to drop metaphorical bombs on a few of those organisations charged with running the sport in which he has invested so heavily.
According to ‘The Donald’, staging a future British Open at Turnberry “doesn’t matter”, which may or may not be news to the R&A.
As things stand, the game’s ruling body outside the United States and Mexico has made no commitment to return to the Ailsa course. But Trump was clearly keen to make clear, should no invitation to host what would be a fifth Open at Turnberry be forthcoming, his subsequent level of concern would be less than significant.
Then there is the World Golf Championship, played each March at Trump's Doral resort in Florida. It will not be moving any time soon – "We have a 10-year contract" – even if the commissioner of the PGA Tour, Tim Finchem, is entertaining thoughts of taking the event elsewhere.
And, just to round things off, the LPGA commissioner Mike Whan’s apology for his criticism of Trump’s recent distasteful remarks about Mexicans and illegal immigration into the US is now public knowledge. “I told him [Whan] I didn’t like the tone of his statement,” Trump said. “I told him I didn’t mind if he apologised in the press. He said: ‘Do you think I could do without it?’ I said I could do without it, you can do whatever you want.”
Points duly scored, Trump moved on to matters of more import to those of either a business or political persuasion.
But his remarks will not go unnoticed in St Andrews, Ponte Vedra and Daytona Beach, which was undoubtedly his intention. Constantly citing his pre-eminent standing in various unidentified polls, the frontrunner for the Republican party’s nomination for US president is clearly enjoying his ascendency.
The same can be said of South Korea’s Kim Hyo-joo, whose seven-under 65 leads the way over a Turnberry course that will undergo extensive renovation next week. The 20-year-old from the town of Kangwon-do made five birdies and an eagle on the par-five 14th, not once dropping a shot on the 6,410-yard layout.
That Kim should play so well is not a huge surprise; she is already a major champion having won the 2014 Evian Masters but her experience of golf in Scotland is scant and sketchy. Asked if she had been to the home of golf before, she said she had, once, to St Andrews. There she had played in a “juniors” tournament where she finished second, “but I forgot the name of it”.
Right behind the leader is the New Zealander Lydia Ko (18), whose experience of golf in Scotland is more recent than Kim's. On Sunday, the world number two finished tied fourth in the Ladies Scottish Open at nearby Dundonald.
“Last week was really good,” she said. “I got to play a really firm, links-style course. So it was a great way to prepare.”
Victory here would make her the youngest female major champion. Guardian Service