BEDMINSTER, N.J. – President Donald Trump just made it official: He’s on his way to the 72nd U.S. Women’s Open. Late Friday morning, Trump tweeted that he’d left Paris and was heading to New Jersey to attend the Women’s Open, “their most important tournament” this afternoon.
He’s been the talk of the tournament all week. Normally, news of a Michelle Wie withdrawal (as she did early Friday morning) would dominate discussion for at least one day. But the focus this week at Trump National Golf Club has always been Trump. He’s likely to stay through the weekend and might even be involved in the trophy presentation on the 18th green.
Left Paris for U.S.A. Will be heading to New Jersey and attending the#USWomensOpen, their most important tournament, this afternoon.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2017
Trump is expected to land around 3 p.m. and motorcade to the course. A rainy Friday morning in Bedminster led to light fan traffic. Protestors are expected to gather at a designated area near the local library four miles from the course, perhaps as early as Friday.
A sitting president has never attended a U.S. Women’s Open. In fact, only three sitting presidents have attended the men’s U.S. Open: Harding (1921), Ford (1982) and Clinton (1997).
U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis said earlier this week that should Trump attend, “We would certainly welcome him.”
The vast majority of players chose not to comment on the president’s potential arrival, though Trump’s presence is nothing new. Many, like Lydia Ko, were on the course at Trump Turnberry at the 2015 British Women’s Open when Trump landed in his private helicopter across the street from the first tee.
“If he does (come),” said Ko, “I’m sure he’s here to see some great golf like he did before. If he does, that’s cool.”
“I’ll tell you that I don’t think we’ve had an active president at an LPGA event before,” said former No. 1 Stacy Lewis. “Is it pretty cool that an active president of the United States is coming to a women’s golf tournament?
USGA officials say there are 100 more credentialed media at this year’s Women’s Open than there were in 2016. More media won’t be added this week, however, with the president coming. Credentialing has closed.