JERSEY CITY, N.J. — The ultimate power threesome is expected to be on the first tee Thursday as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all are scheduled to be present for the start of the Presidents Cup. Their fellow golf enthusiast, President Donald Trump, could make an appearance on Sunday.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told a pool reporter that people from the Trump Administration “have been out and taken a good, hard look” at Liberty National Golf Club in preparation for a visit by the sitting president. Monahan added that he does not expect negativity to be associated with the match between the U.S. and International teams. “This is a nonpartisan event,” he said. “It’s named after the highest office in the land . . . We’re excited to have him out here. We really are. We hope he comes and he will be welcomed by us and our players.”
The presence of the three previous commanders in chief will represent a bipartisan showing at a time of political turmoil surrounding sporting events.
“I’m not sure if you say, ‘Mr. President’ who’s going to look,” said U.S. player Matt Kuchar, who will partner with Dustin Johnson against Adam Scott and Jhonattan Vegas. “What a thrill for us, what a thrill for the game of golf. Such a great thing to have three presidents be in attendance. It only makes the game look better, makes the event look better. I’m really, really happy to have them as part of this.”
Brooks Koepka, the de facto national champion as the winner of the 2017 U.S. Open, said: “That will be awesome. It will be a great experience. I met President Obama at the Floridian a few years ago. I’ve never met the other ones. It will be a good honor, it will be fun. I don’t know if it will make you a little more nervous. But you’re already nervous. You can’t get much more nervous.”
Recent presidents have been so involved with golf that Patrick Reed, who will play with Jordan Spieth against Si Woo Kim and Emiliano Grillo, has met all four. Never three at a time, though. “It’s going to be amazing, to get the support from the Presidents to come out and watch us play. It is ‘The Presidents Cup.’ We’re playing for our country and for the presidents,” he said.
If Trump attends, he will be the first sitting president to do so since Clinton in 2000. It would be his second time at a tournament in New Jersey this year. He was at the U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Bedminster for three days in July.
Nick Price and Steve Stricker, the captains of the International and American teams, respectively, announced that their teams are donating $170,000 apiece for hurricane relief to One America Appeal, a charity founded by the five living former presidents.