He’s been joined twice in that time by professionals, Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy, and once prior to that, in December, by Tiger Woods. Els was part of a group Trump convened during his weekend at Mar-a-Lago with the Japanese prime minister.
The White House routinely declines to say who the president is golfing with, deviating from an Obama era practice, and how many holes they played.
However, Trump said last week that he was using his time on the course more wisely than his predecessor.
‘I always said about President Obama, it’s great to play golf, but play golf with heads of countries,’ Trump told a congressman last Thursday. ‘And, by the way, people like yourself, when you’re looking for votes, don’t play with your friends who you play with every week.’
Donald Trump and top golfer Rory McIlroy (both center) are seen at their golf game in Trump International, Florida, on Sunday. Former Yankee player Paul O’Neill (right) and Clear Sports CEO Garry Singer (left) were at the course but didn’t play with them
Trump has played with a head of government just once – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. His other partners are mostly unknown. A few have been identified in social media posts.
Clear Sports shared a photo on Twitter last weekend of Trump and McIlroy at Trump International, Florida, on Sunday. Former Yankee baseball player Paul O’Neill and Clear Sports CEO Garry Singer were at the course at the same time and appeared in the picture with them but were not part of their game.
McIlroy told NoLayingUp.com that he played a full round with Trump that day.
‘He probably shot around 80. He’s a decent player for a guy in his 70’s!’
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Sunday that Trump played ‘a couple holes’ that day. ‘But I am not going to disclose any of the others that were there,’ she said.
Huckabee Sanders said Trump also ‘played a couple’ holes on Saturday.
After NoLayingUp.com revealed that Trump stayed for the full 18, the White House on Mondahy adjusted its story.
‘As stated yesterday the President played golf. He intended to play a few holes and decided to play longer,’ Huckabee Sanders said. ‘He also had a full day of meetings, calls and interviews for the new NSA, which he is continuing today.’
The senior White House aide was referring to Trump’s interviews with prospective national security advisors. He announced Monday afternoon that he was appointing H.R. McMaster to the slot that had been vacated a week before by Michael Flynn.
Trump posted this image of him and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe high-fiving each other as they play a round of golf earlier this month. The two men are seen second from left
The White House has been sensitive about Trump’s golf schedule in light of the accusatory remarks Republicans, and the new president, made about Obama’s frequent golf outings when he was in charge.
‘Can you believe that,with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.Worse than Carter,’ Trump said in an October 2014 tweet.
As CNN pointed out, Trump claimed last year, on the campaign trail, that he was ‘not going to have time to go play golf.’
‘I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to go play golf,’ he assured his future constituents.
In December, at a stop on his ‘Thank You’ tour in Michigan, Trump was at it again.
‘I love golf, I think it’s one of the greats, but I don’t have time,’ Trump said as he critiqued Obama. ‘He played more golf last year than Tiger Woods. We don’t have time for this. We don’t have time for this. We have to work.’
Two weeks later, it was Trump who was on the course with Woods, on Dec. 23.
His transition press secretary Stephanie Grisham told reporters that day that the president-elect and Woods were playing 18 holes with four other, unidentified people. Trump planned to have meetings with high-level staff afterward, she assured.
The president said that the two leaders were joined on the tee by golf great Ernie Els
A week later, on New Year’s Eve, Trump made a ‘last-minute decision’ to play golf and went to the course without informing his press pool. Details of that outing were shared on social media by National Golf Club Jupiter member Eric Kaplan.
Republicans tagged Obama as the golfer-in-chief later in his presidency, but he did not play his first round until several months into office, CNN reports. His first round was April 26, 2009, at Andrews Air Force Base. Trump appears to have played six times since taking office.
Trump has made working weekends out of his three Palm Beach trips since becoming president, bringing the Japanese PM along on the second one and interviewing national security experts this past weekend.
The president said in a tweet after his outing with Abe: ‘Played golf today with Prime Minister Abe of Japan and Ernie Els, and had a great time. Japan is very well represented!’
Donald Trump Jr. posted a picture of his father, daughter Kai and Tiger Woods playing golf in December on Instagram
Trump made sport of President Obama’s golf habit during more than a dozen campaign rallies in 2015 and 2016, saying at one point that ‘he’s played more’ than Tiger Woods
Trump and the Mac Daddy: The President-elect gives a thumbs up to the camera along with Woods, still sporting a grey goatee, and another golfer
Congressman Billy Long, chair of the Congressional Study Group on Japan, noted in a congressional listening session with Trump last Thursday that he would be meeting with Abe in a few days.
‘So if you will tell me how many golf balls he lost in Florida,’ he joked. ‘I don’t know how many House of Representative golf balls to take.’
Trump said Abe ‘played well’ and revealed how they ended up on the course with pro golfer Els.
‘I called up Billy — I said, see if you can get me somebody good to play with; I have the Prime Minister of Japan who wants to play golf. So we get to the front of the club, and Ernie Els is waiting for us. He said, when you’re ready. So we had a good time.’
Long identified Japanese PM Kenichiro Sasae as their other partner, telling Trump, ‘He mentioned he was with you down there to play golf.’
‘He was,’ the president said, calling him a ‘good’ guy.