Friday, September 23, 2016

Vital Signs, september 23, 2016

     It’s not just “the system” that’s rigged. It may be that the tests of skill at Donald “the Candidate” Trump’s charity golf tournaments are rigged as well.
     In 2010, according to the New York Daily News, Trump denied a $1 million prize to the apparent winner of a hole-in-one contest that took place at his club in Westchester, New York. This year’s Republican presidential nominee found a catch in the rules for the contest, and the catch was that a winning shot had to travel at least 150 yards. How far did the winner’s shot go? Not quite 140 yards, reportedly. Trump likes to claim that he always surrounds himself with the best people, but in this case the hole evidently wasn’t set up in accordance with the contest’s rules.
     What we’re talking about here is an outrage and an insult to the golf industry. The people who participate in hole-in-one contests dream of making near-impossible shots and taking home nice prizes. Why even hint that they’re being cheated? Will they continue to support our charity events if they believe that there’s something shady going on?
     Our business is full of people who would’ve swallowed hard, congratulated the winner, and pulled out a checkbook. Why didn’t Trump? Instead of making himself accountable, he looked for a loophole that offered an escape. He chose to force a lawsuit and then agree to a settlement that allowed him to pay just a fraction of what the contest promised. It’s regrettable that one of the most powerful people in golf looks like a guy who plays his customers for fools or suckers.
     Is this an example of Trump’s brilliant business sense or a form of fraud? And when it comes to determining Trump’s future in golf, should the answer to that question even matter?

     Want to know what generosity really looks like? Train your eyes on Gary Player, whose 16-year-old charity golf tournament has reportedly raised $62 million for underprivileged children. The goal: $100 million.

     Before the year completely slips away, I’ve got to post the most important numbers related to golf construction in 2015. The final score, according to the National Golf Foundation: 177 closings, 17 openings. The number of closings has surpassed the number of openings in every year since 2006. And for what it’s worth, the NGF reportedly expects this year’s results to be similar to last year’s.

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