June 13, 2024

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Henrik Stenson leads the LIV event but Donald Trump’s circus steals the spotlight | Golf Leaf Series

It didn’t take long for the barely veiled political tones surrounding LIV golf The tournament at Donald Trump’s Bedminster Golf Club came out on top on Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of spectators fill the grandstand behind the first tee arouse In reckless chants of “Four more years!” Her voice echoed across the stadiums as the former US president appeared in a white polo shirt and red “Make America Great Again” hat to watch the leading group of Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed and Vachara Khongwatmai begin their second rounds after the trumpet first blasted the ball at 1:15.

Several feet away, Greg Norman, the CEO and face of the controversial Saudi-funded separatist tour, raised the roof with a shy smile, embracing the rowdy vibe even as it was deftly avoided by the official broadcast, which was streamed on YouTube to some 70,000 viewers. In the absence of a TV deal. And that was before the sudden appearance of Marjorie Taylor Green, a far-right Republican congressman and Christian nationalist from Georgia.

If day one was a Diet Maga run, this was a Maga Classic. The crowd in Saturday’s second round of the 54-hole No-Pieces Championship was a bit bigger and definitely higher than Opening session on Friday, when no more than 2,000 spectators descended on the 500-acre grounds of Trump National in this farming town of Central New Jersey 45 miles west of New York City. The formerly deserted stands and grassy fairways along the fairways were packed with fans as the $25 million tournament was held under pristine blue skies and comfortable temperatures of 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius).

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Stenson, the new overnight co-leader His dismissal as Ryder Cup captain in Europe Last week, he shot a 69-under twice to extend his lead on the field to a nine-under-one, three strokes better than Dustin Johnson and four strokes ahead of Patrick Reed, Carlos Ortiz and Talor Gooch.

But it was the former US president who once again shone the spotlight, even as the star-studded field of PGA Tour defectors synchronized the course around 7,591 yards. A continuous mass of several hundred fans spent the afternoon stationed outside the enclosed terrace next to tee number 16 as Trump played in the second half of the day’s play. Many of them wore T-shirts with familiar slogans: Let’s Go Brandon; Missed me yet? Don’t blame me, I voted for Trump.

Fans are seen playing on the 10th green lawn from a distance in Bedminster.
Fans are seen playing on the 10th green lawn from a distance in Bedminster. Photo: Mike Staub/Live Golf/Getty Images

Their patience was rewarded when he finally came out of the aquarium to a babbling roar for improvised performance God bless America and he’s joined by Taylor Green, the conservative hooligans cold angle for a spot on the Trump 2024 ticket. It was quieter a few hundred meters behind the first 514-yard tee, five times as a plaque and a bouquet of white flowers denoting the newly transformed plot of land where Ivana Trump is buried, The first wife of the former president, this. week.

Trump Illegal use of the presidency He drew the seal at his Bedminster Club with rigorous training from ethics watchdogs, but many other signs of his tenure in the White House on cause lie on the right side of federal law. Anyone can leave a Maga at home choose one At the Pro Store: Unsigned for $35, signed for $500. Same for copies of his photo memoir, Our Journey Together, which comes in at $75.

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Critics have accused the Saudi government of using its reported $2 billion investment in LIV Golf to “sport launder” the kingdom’s abhorrent human rights record, the alleged connection to the 9/11 attacks, the severe suppression of women’s rights and LGBTQ people and the 2018 murder of a dissident journalist. Khashoggi.

But while Washington’s gossip class spent the week pondering whether Trump had changed his face toward the system He was once accused of a role on 9/11 It would cost him politically, Saturday’s sightings seemed to beg the question – with golf still in the back seat.