Returning Tiger Woods plays round with president-elect Donald Trump

Former world number one joins real estate mogul for 18 holes at the International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida having only just returned from a 15-month injury lay-off

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 December, 2016, 1:09pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 December, 2016, 1:09pm

Tiger Woods, who played golf three years ago with Barack Obama, played 18 holes on Friday with Donald Trump at the real estate mogul’s Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida.

Woods, who will celebrate his 41st birthday on December 30, returned to competition this month after a 15-month injury lay-off.

He joined the president-elect in a foursome, a spokeswoman for Trump’s transition team said, with Trump departing via motorcade after the round for his Mar-a-Lago estate.

He planned to go from there to the West Palm Beach Hilton, and had meetings with “high-level staffers” planned later in the day, press secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

Trump’s transition team didn’t offer any immediate details on the round, or what the president-elect and former world number one Woods talked about.

In February 2013, 14-time major champion Woods played with Obama at a private golf resort in Florida.

US PGA pulls Grand Slam of Golf from Donald Trump course in wake of anti-Mexican rant

Obama and Woods teamed up to defeat US trade representative Ron Kirk and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

That golf outing was criticised after it came to light that it ended up costing US taxpayers nearly US$3.6 million, according to a US Government Accountability report published this year.

The Trump Organisation owns golf courses around the world, including historic Turnberry in Scotland, which has hosted the Open Championship four times.

However, Trump’s controversial comments on issues such as immigration during the US presidential campaign strained his relationships with some in the golf world.

World Golf Championship to be moved from Donald Trump’s Doral course to Mexico

The PGA of America stripped their 2015 Grand Slam of Golf from Trump National Los Angeles after Trump’s comments on Mexican immigrants, and the event was later discontinued.

Activist Martha Burk is among those who have called for the US Golf Association (USGA) to move the 2017 US Women’s Open from Trump National in New Jersey, a demand the USGA has rejected.

The US PGA Tour moved their longstanding tournament at Trump National Doral in the Miami area to Mexico City for the 2016-17 season, although tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in June that the move of the World Golf Championships event was not a “political exercise”.

However, Finchem acknowledged that having the Trump brand on the host course of the event made it harder to find a sponsor to replace outgoing Cadillac, since Trump would share the limelight with any other corporate backer.

Although Trump blasted Obama during the campaign for playing too much golf, Golf Digest magazine recently listed the president-elect as among the best golfers in Washington with a 2.8 handicap.