The new Master of the Masters?

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The recent television debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump descended into farce as they traded disparaging remarks about each other’s golf.
Posted on
July 10, 2024
Robert Green in
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The American presidential election is on November 5 (gulp…that’s Bonfire Night!) and as things presently stand it looks likely to be a match-up between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. But there are questions about Biden’s participation given how poorly he performed in their recent television debate, which for a time descended into farce as they traded blows with disparaging remarks about each other’s golf. This in turn caused the new US Open champion, Bryson DeChambeau, to tweet “Let’s settle this whole handicap debate, I’ll host the golf match on my YouTube”. We still await on that.

Since the TV debate, the US Supreme Court has delivered a judgement confirming, by a 6-3 majority, that a president has immunity from prosecution for ‘official’ acts he carries out. The case has been referred back to a lower court to consider what constitutes an ‘official’ act, as opposed to an ‘unofficial’ one. In a minority opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the ruling effectively made a president “a king” – which is very likely how Trump sees himself.

OK, I know it’s a little late (or extremely early!) for an April Fool’s story, but let’s try this one for size anyway. Suppose Trump wins the election and next January is sworn in as president for a second time. Suppose he then decides that as president his office needs, for example, to own Augusta National – in an ‘official’ capacity. Sotomayor said in her view the judgement “makes a mockery of the principle…that no man is above the law”. If that would be the case, Trump could do whatever he wanted and there would be nothing anyone could do to stop him. The Donald could become the Master of the Masters.

Imagine that, hey? Having hoped the course he built at Aberdeen might soon host the Open Championship and then finding out it wouldn’t, having expected the links he bought at Turnberry would carry on hosting the Open and then finding out it would never stage the championship again while he was the owner, how sweet would it be for Trump to claim his first major championship by acquiring the venue of the first one of the season? I know it all sounds mad, in a Malice in Blunderland kind of way, but who could honestly say right now that it’s impossible? Two years ago, who would have figured a Saudi investment fund would be fraying the very existence of the PGA Tour?

The United States is of course not the only country with a big election year in 2024. We have just had ours. During the recent campaign, Suella Braverman, a former minister in the then Conservative government, said her party should “embrace” Nigel Farage, leader of Reform UK. David Davies, another Tory MP, disagreed. “When somebody tries to burn down the golf club,” he said, “you don’t offer them membership.”

I think we can guess what Donald Trump might want to do to anyone who set fire to one of his golf clubs. In fact, depending on how the court case eventually plays out, he might be able to do it.

You can follow Robert Green on Twitter @robrtgreen and enjoy his other blog

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About Robert Green

Robert Green is a former editor of Golf World and Golf International magazines and the author of four books on golf, including Seve: Golf’s Flawed Genius. He has played golf on more than 450 courses around the world, occasionally acceptably.

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