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A Good Walk Foiled

[NB: You should check the byline as always, though nobody else here at emptywheel is stupid enough to write about golf but me. /~Rayne]

The title of this post is an homage to an informative piece of work about the business of golf, A Good Walk Spoiled, written by sports writer John Feinstein. The book was published in 1995 before Tiger Woods turned pro, driving golf into a boom in tandem with the dot com explosion and the crazy amount of expendable income a certain class of people had to spend on the sport.

A Good Walk Spoiled also preceded the rise of Trump-owned and branded golf courses by a few years. Trump built his first course in 1999, the Trump International Golf Club, West Palm Beach, Florida. On brand with Trump’s litigiousness, the land was acquired after a lawsuit against Palm Beach County. Without pulling up the relevant suit and land records it’s hard to tell exactly how Trump obtained the 350 acres which became Trump’s first course. It’s certainly not clear from this interview:

In 1985 you bought Mar-a-Lago (Trump’s Florida home, a landmark that had been the estate of cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, wife of E.F. Hutton). How did that happen?

Mar-a-Lago was on the market for about five years, but they wouldn’t sell it to me. Now, they had already sold the beach in front of Mar-a-Lago–stupidly sold it–so I bought that, and then the other potential buyers didn’t want the place so much. Especially after I announced a horrendous project for that beach: big houses between Mar-a-Lago and the ocean. Did I really plan to build those houses? No. But it worked. Once I had the beach, I had them, and they sold me Mar-a-Lago. I got a good deal.

After I got it, I was annoyed by the planes going over to Palm Beach International Airport. So I sued the county. They wound up settling, and I got 350 incredible acres–the land that’s now Trump International Golf Club (An attorney for Palm Beach County says the settlement was unrelated to the land). Which has a quite expensive exit from the highway, by the way. The state’s spending $400 million on a highway (Widening and improving interstate 95), but didn’t build me an exit, and I put up quite a fuss about that. They ended up building a $30 million exit (Florida Department of Transportation says the exit cost even more $40 million) that goes to my $45 million course.

Right from the beginning of his current 17-course golf empire, the means and methods by which he operated them were sketchy.

It doesn’t help that the media has given him a pass so many damned times, even in this particular bit of sports writing. What was the settlement really about? How did Trump really acquire the land? It’s waved off in fourteen words enclosed in parentheses and that’s it. The same kind of wave off The New York Times gave him in coverage of their interview with him yesterday, 11 years after Trump’s bullshit explanation to Golf.com.

And I do mean bullshit. Read the rest of that Golf.com article and see if your eyebrows don’t elevate from the reek.

Especially the bit about playing golf with a banker.

Trump is playing golf right now, unsurprisingly, having traveled to his resort Mar-a-Lago for the weekend. I’m disappointed in one of his golf partners. Jack Nicklaus is a Republican and therefore no surprise as one of Trump’s playmates today. But Tiger Woods? Really, Tiger?

I get that Tiger may feel an affinity for someone who loves golf as much as Trump does, but you’d think Tiger would be smart enough to see the handwriting on the wall and the risk to anyone’s personal brand if they’re too tight with Il Douche.

Maybe Tiger’s going along to get along as far too many people have with Trump all his adult life.

In which case today’s round is just a good walk foiled.

Treat this as an open thread.

ADDER — 2:22 p.m. ET —

His moochery bilking us of our tax dollars to promote his golf course disgusts me to no end.

I hope he is counting his golf swings. It would be sweet justice to see one or more of his courses seized if investigations reveal he has defrauded us.

[Photo: Jose Chavez via Unsplash]

Trash Talk: Possession is 9/10ths of the Law

I am hijacking this weekend’s Trash Talk, taking adverse possession. I don’t give a fig right now about football — feel free to tell me what I’m missing though it doesn’t look like I’m missing much while the Redskins tear a new one into the Packers in the first quarter.

But Tiger Woods.

Jeez oh Pete, he was hot yesterday. HOT. He made an insane number of birdies in his first nine holes yesterday. He finished the third round of the PGA Tour Championship with a 65 — 12 under — three strokes better than second place Justin Rose with Rory McIlroy following. It was like watching early Tiger all over again, nailing exactly the shot he needed when he needed it.

I get heat from friends about watching Tiger. They can’t understand why I’m not hot for the rest of the new crop of golfers. Take a look at the field, I tell them. Take a look at the gallery. When Tiger began winning on tour years back I had big hopes for golf, that it wouldn’t continue to be a sport dominated by white men for a predominantly white male audience. After his marriage cratered and his sex addiction became public, along with increasing back problems, it looked like golf would sink back into a symbolism of everything wrong with capitalism.

But Tiger this year is a revelation. His is a comeback story when we need a comeback. I hope his improved performance after back surgeries is a sign of things to come and not a last hurrah.

And I hope he can once again be a symbol of what golf should be — not a flash in the pan but a life of striving for something more and better.

Yeah, all your favorites and heroes are problematic. This includes Tiger. But he doens’t need to save the world. He doesn’t need to save golf. He just needs to show that a man can straighten himself out and do better than he’s done in the past, and in doing so be a role model for others. I’m not alone hoping Tiger wins today.

Live coverage on CBS at this link. As I post this Tiger is wrapping up the second hole, having made his first birdie of the day on his first hole.

Bring it — what game are you watching? Treat this as the usual open Trash Talk thread.

Trash Talk: I’m An Excellent Driver Edition

Well I woke up this morning and got myself a beer
The future’s uncertain and the end is always near
Let it roll, baby roll, let it roll all night long.

These are strange days indeed we live in. One minute it is a quiet peaceful day after Thanksgiving, not even the sound of sugar plums and OPR reports dropping, and the next thing you know all hell is breaking loose in the Woods. Tiger goes Rainman driving in the driveway, and Elin Woods shows she’s got some game with golf clubs too. Go figure. You knew it couldn’t be long before Gloria Allred and Mark Geragos were involved. Ugh. The Woods family, sadly, will all be crawling from this wreakage for a long time.

But there is, thankfully, football to occupy our time, so let’s get to the games.

Student Athletes: Right now, and in my backyard, my ASU Sun Devils have just lost, via a late game moronic muffed punt, to the hated UofA Wildcats in what, at one time, was one of the best and nastiest rivalry games in the entire country. No longer, strictly ho hum now. Another game that was always huge, but has lost some luster is Trojans v. Bruins, which is a late game tonight (Fox Sports here). It may not be what it used to be, but very well may be an interesting game tonight. By the way, both TCU and Boise State are going to finish undefeated; I say put em both in BCS bowl games; these are good teams and they have earned it far more than some SEC team with two losses, and more than any flunky Big-10 team.

National Favre League: Again, there area a bunch of simply lousy games not even worth discussing. But the good ones have a lot to chew on. First up is Pittsburgh versus the Ravens in Baltimore. The big news here is that Big Ben is out, not going to play because of concussion symptoms. When Roethlisberger himself is making the call, you know it is real, he is a tough dude. So Dennis Dixon, who was a legitimate Heisman candidate, if not frontrunner, two years ago at Oregon before he hurt his knee, will get the start. He is a great athlete and can throw the ball, but has almost zero experience; ought to be interesting. The Ravens are desperate and have to have a win, but have not been playing well. This is a tossup, with the slight edge to the Ravens.

Peyton and the Colts at Houston is notable too. Can the Colts stay undefeated? Can Houston win a big game at home? I’ll take the Colts. Da Bears visit Old Man River in the land of the Norske. The other really interesting game, however, is the Cardinals visiting the Titans. Kurt Warner looks fine in spite of the hit last week, so the Cards look to be at full strength. The Titans have been resurgent with Vince Young though and are back to playing Jeff Fisher football. The Titans are on a mission, the Cards have the division pretty much wrapped up already because the NFC west is so pitiful. I’ll take the Titans in an upset.

By far the biggest and best game this week is the Monday Night affair down in the Big Easy. If I had more dollars than sense, I would head down for some hurricanes at Pat O’Briens and a 48 hour partay ramble. You know the Who Dat nation is going to be amped up and ready to geaux. This has the makings of another Dolphins/Bears Monday Night game from almost 24 years ago to the day. With only the Redskins, Falcons, Cowboys, Bucs and Panthers left on their schedule, if the Saints can overcome the Pats, they very well may run the table. The Pats are really rounding into form at the right time of the year. You knew they would. Most importantly, the New England defense is gelling. Couple that with a healthy Wes Welker and Brady getting back to the QB he is capable of being, and, well, you just cannot ask for anything more out of a regular season game. As Keith Jackson would say, “folks, this is gonna be a good un”. Drew Fookin Brees and the Who Dats are at home in the dome; give them a microscopic edge.

Alright, that is the slate; what ya got? Been kind of quiet here the last couple of days, time to make some noise fellow knuckleheads!!