Donald Trump eyes U.S. Open
BEDMINSTER, N.J. -- Now that he has the U.S. Women's Open, Donald Trump wants more.
On the day that the USGA formally accepted his invitation to play the biggest event in women's golf at Trump National in Bedminster in 2017, the 65-year-old mogul and TV personality said Thursday he would like to host the world's biggest event in golf -- the U.S. Open.
Trump, who owns golf courses in North America and Europe, said the Tom Fazio-designed old course at Trump National is big, bold, and tough, and he believes it could stand up against the best in the world.
"I wanted to hold this course to the absolute highest standards of golf, the absolute highest in terms of quality and length," Trump said at a news conference. "This course can play 7,700, even 7,800 yards. It is one of the few places that you don't have to tinker with. You can set the greens not at 15 or 16 but 12 and the best players are going to have a hard time staying around par."
An avid golfer, Trump has been setting his sights on being the host to some of the world's biggest events since building and opening this course in 2004 on what used to be the estate of automaker John DeLorean.
The course set on natural rolling hills was the site of the U.S. Junior Amateur and the Girls' Junior championships in 2009. Trump impressed USGA officials with how he handled an event for more than 300 young men and women.
His next step was sending an invitation to host the U.S. Women's Open, and USGA executive director Mike Davis said it was an easy choice for the 2017 event.
"When it comes to women's golf, this is it," Davis said of the Women's Open. "I would say our site selection committee is particular about where we come, and this Trump National Bedminster absolutely, positively has earned it."
Trump said his course also is attractive for major events because it is accessible off a major highway and it has enough parking for 18,000 automobiles and major crowds.
"If that should happen, it would be a great honor," Trump said of possibly being the site for a U.S. Open. "I have no greater respect than for the U.S. Open. If I were of that caliber golfer, I know it would be my first pick."
Davis said he has played golf with Trump, and his game is good.
"I enjoy golf," Trump said. "I enjoy the business of golf. It's not my primary business, maybe that's a good thing. I love investing in golf. I think it is good for all of us, certainly good for me and I hope you enjoy the course. Trump National has been something close to my heart."
For now, he has the Women's Open, which will be played July 13-16, 2017 on the old course at Trump National.
This will be the first time the U.S. Women's Open has been held in New Jersey since 1987, when Laura Davies won at Plainfield.
"I have played with him a number of times," Davis said, "and when you hear about his low handicap, trust me, it is legitimate."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press