Donald Trump started his 12-day Asia trip with some Sunday golf in Japan with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and world No. 4 Hideki Matsuyama. The Nov. 5 round visit marked the 77th time the 45th President has visited a golf course — including one of the 17 his Trump Organization owns or manages — since becoming President on Jan. 20, 2017.
This is the second time Trump has played golf with the newly re-elected Abe, with the two playing together at one of Trump’s Florida clubs in February. They were also joined by Matsuyama, who is in Japan for a number of home-country tournaments as his year winds down. This time, they played at Kasumigaseki Country Club, which will host Olympic golf for men and women in 2020 for the Tokyo games. The Kasumigaseki membership agreed to allow female members after the International Olympic Committee and International Golf Federation threatened to move the event to another club allowing women as full members.
Playing golf with Prime Minister Abe and Hideki Matsuyama, two wonderful people! pic.twitter.com/vYLULe0o2K
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017
— 安倍晋三 (@AbeShinzo) November 5, 2017
Trump forewarned against his own nature of bragging, telling reporters on Air Force One, “If I come back and say I was longer than [Matsuyama], don’t believe it.” The Trump administration was coy on who won, with an official saying to AFP, “I am told the three of them did not keep score but had a very good time out there.”
The pair apparently had some productive discussion during the round, including about North Korea.
So far, Trump has been on the golf course or his clubs during some portion of the day for 26.2 percent of his presidency. With 10 weekends between now and the end of 2017, it’s conceivable Trump could fit in 100 days at his golf properties before year-end.
The Trump Administration, per policy, does not acknowledge that Trump is playing even a hole of golf, much less an 18-hole round. However, if he’s going to the golf club for about 4-5 hours, you can be pretty sure he’s playing golf. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has asked the White House to provide the names of Trump’s golf partners, as well for his clubs to provide visitor logs to get a sense of when Trump has played golf and with whom.
The President is certainly entitled to some leisure time, and golf has been an outlet for most Commanders-in-Chief dating back to the early 20th century. However, the reluctance to even acknowledge that this President plays golf conflicts with his almost relentless criticism of his predecessor, Barack Obama, who played an estimated 333 rounds of golf as President.