In an informal survey conducted by The New York Times, an overwhelming number of PGA Tour pros said they’d agree to an invitation to play golf with President Donald Trump. Reporter Karen Crouse asked 56 players at the Genesis Open if they would tee it up with the president, and 89% of them said yes, following in the footsteps of Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy, who’ve all played with Trump since the election.
Els was criticized by some for his time spent with Trump, but he defended himself, saying that he felt it was “a duty” to accept a call from the president, no matter how polarizing he is.
“He is the president at the moment. If it was Barack Obama, I would have played. If it was Hillary Clinton, I would have played,” Els said.
Pat Perez was more enthusiastic; he’d play with Trump “in a heartbeat,” and called him “an incredible businessman.”
That pro golfers would embrace Trump, long a fixture in the sport, is not surprising. The demographics of the Tour–white, male and wealthy–are all groups that voted for Trump. In SI Golf’s annual survey, conducted in the spring of 2016, we asked players whether they’d vote for Hillary Clinton if she could cut their taxes in half and her opponent would keep them the same. Fifty-six percent said no. On the Champions tour it was 74%, with one golfer saying that “I wouldn’t vote for her if she were the last person on Earth.”