“My caddie saw a Secret Service agent with a sniper! I think Ivanka was here with her husband,” pro golfer Alison Lee says she told a competitor at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open. “And there is a little spectator tent just left of 15 green that is clearly bulletproof.”
The locker room talk at the tournament this year is a little different than at other majors. In addition to difficult course conditions and how fast the greens are running, the LPGA players and amateurs at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, are talking about the tournament’s heightened security measures and whether President Donald Trump will hand out the winning trophy himself.
“I think it would be cool if the president, no matter who it is, came to the event because how often do you get to say ‘Hey, I played in the U.S. Women’s Open where the president attended?'” player Brianna Do said. “It would be a pain logistically behind the scenes and for us security-wise though.”
Trump is returning to Bedminster from Paris and tweeted Friday that he will be attending the tournament.
In a notice to players, the U.S. Golf Association cited “a precautionary measure and a best practice for the championship” as it implemented a handful of new security measures late this week, reminding players to leave extra time to get through the metal detectors and “comprehensive” security checks.
“They made me pour out my Starbucks in the security screen yesterday,” player Tiffany Joh added.
This marks the first time a Trump property has hosted a major for the LPGA in the U.S.; Trump Golf, a subsidiary of The Trump Organization, owns and operates 17 courses worldwide.
Trump Golf is set to host the 2022 PGA Championship in Bedminster, and the 2017 Senior PGA Championship recently took place at Trump National Golf Club in Washington, D.C.
Two years ago Trump Turnberry in Scotland was the site of the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Trump attended that tournament, but Lee says it’s different now that he’s president.
“He was there at the British Open and everyone was talking about him, but now it’s a different kind of talking about him because this time politics are involved,” Lee said.
Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA, is trying hard to keep politics off the green. “We’re a golf organization. We’re simply not going to cross that line into politics,” Davis said at a May 24 preview day for the tournament.
“I can appreciate that some people do; that’s what’s great about this country, that everyone has their own political views. We’re a golf association and we’re sticking to golf.”