PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan defends weekend round of golf with Donald Trump

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor
Monahan played with Trump and others on Saturday at his course in Bedminster, New Jersey, which will host the 2022 PGA Championship. (Jane Barlow/Getty Images)
Monahan played with Trump and others on Saturday at his course in Bedminster, New Jersey, which will host the 2022 PGA Championship. (Jane Barlow/Getty Images)

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said he has no regrets about playing a round of golf with President Donald Trump last weekend.

Monahan played with Trump at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Saturday, marking his second round with Trump since he’s been in office. Monahan defended his round on Tuesday, saying he has “great respect for the office of the presidency” and that it was an “awesome opportunity.”

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“I’m concerned about criticism for everything that I do,” Monahan said Tuesday, via the Associated Press. “But in this instance … listen, like I said, [Trump] has been a great supporter of the Presidents Cup. He loves our game. He’s got a relationship with a lot of our players.

“And to me, I’m not there for political reasons. I’m there to support him. He asked me to be there and be there with other peers in our industry. It’s a chance for us to spend some time together and have a wonderful time.”

Monahan was teamed up with Trump and Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley for the match. They took on NBC Sports president Pete Bevacqua, Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Jay Clayton and Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Trump National is set to host the 2022 PGA Championship, too, a decision that has sparked wide backlash. That major championship is not run by Monahan and the PGA Tour, however, but rather is handled by the PGA of America.

Though he said being on Trump’s team made the outing a little more challenging, Monahan said they all had a great time.

“[Trump] loves the game of golf, and that’s very apparent,” Monahan said, via the Associated Press. “As his teammates, that’s a little bit of extra pressure. But it was a nice day.”

Monahan the latest celebrity to golf with Trump

Trump — who said during his campaign that he wouldn’t have time to play golf during his presidency — has already spent 221 days since his inauguration at one of his golf courses, according to NBC News. By comparison, President Barack Obama played 306 rounds of golf over his eight years in office.

Many of those rounds have been played with celebrities and former PGA Tour pros, too.

Two-time major winner John Daly played with Trump earlier this month, rocking American flag shorts during the round while boasting his support for the president.

Peyton Manning played with Trump in 2017, though he took a much more cautious approach. Declining an invitation from any president, he said at the time, would be “almost un-American.” Tiger Woods took a similar route when he played with Trump and accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom from him.

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