I recently played with President-elect Donald Trump. What most impressed me was how far he hits the ball at 70 years old. He takes a pretty good lash.
Our discussion topics were wide-ranging; it was fun. We both enjoyed the bantering, bickering and needling. I also shared my vision for golf and what I’m trying to do.
We didn’t have a match and played for fun. I was testing drivers and fairway woods, and changed some settings. I think he enjoyed seeing the difference in shots when you experiment.
I’ve now had the privilege of playing golf with Mr. Trump, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and I appreciate the opportunity.
I know many people doubted whether I would play competitive golf again, and to be honest, even I wasn’t sure. A year ago at Hero, I was asked the question and gave a completely different answer. But after a year of working harder than I’ve ever worked to get back, I knew it was possible.
My love for the game never left. It’s just that the body would not allow me to play. Now my body is allowing me to do it again. Combine that with the amount of support I have received from so many people, and the help I’ve had from players and friends, and there is great reason for optimism.
I was overwhelmed by the guys on our Ryder Cup team. The old guard knew me, but not the younger guys. They didn’t know what to expect because they had never been in a team room with me. But the way they treated me and the excitement they had for me being out there on the golf course watching them play … it was inspiring for me to see them go at it like that and do everything they possibly could for one another.
You’d see guys walk to dinner together, eat together and just generally interact, and you didn’t have to tell them. It was a closeness that was more apparent than any other team I’ve been on.
They got me good in the team room Friday night. It was hot, and they all wore these red, white and blue onesies with ‘USA’ on the front, a gift from Rickie Fowler. Zach Johnson stood up and thanked me for my contributions to the game. He had given every player a red T-shirt, which they wore under the onesies. They all stood, unzipped the front, and the T-shirt read, ‘MAKE TIGER GREAT AGAIN.’
Many of them know what I went through because they live in the Jupiter area. Some of their kids go to the same school as my kids, so we see each other quite a bit. They saw me at [Hobe Sound’s] Medalist trying to make a golf swing and said, ‘Don’t hurt yourself. Wait and be patient. You’re not ready yet.’ So I took their advice until it was go time.