Donald Trump bought Miami’s famed Doral Hotel and Golf Resort in 2012. He renamed it Trump National Doral Miami. The PGA Tour had the Doral Open in late winter every year there for over fifty years. It was one of my favorite venues on Tour. I loved to stay at this nice hotel and not have to drive a car, or be driven, to the course.
But I also liked the golf course and usually the warm weather. I had my first chance to win on the PGA Tour at the Doral Open. It was 1966, my second full year on the Tour. I shot 65 the first round and led the tournament wire-to-wire, as they call it, until the 71st hole on Sunday, the last round. I was playing in the last pairing. Phil Rodgers was in the group right in front of us. The 17th green is uphill, narrow, and very long. At that moment, I was tied with Phil for the lead. I stood in that 17th fairway and watched Phil hole his birdie putt from the front of the green to the back of the green. It must have been at least a 60-70 foot long putt. I then parred that hole. So, Phil had a one shot lead over me with one to hole to play.
The 18th hole from the back tee had a reputation with the players and about everyone else as being the toughest finishing hole of the year on the PGA Tour. But there is another factor that adds to that. The wind usually blows in South Florida, as it was that day. And this long par four hole has a huge lake bordering it very closely on the left side of the fairway from about 100 yards off the tee and all the way to the green.
Phil parred that 18th hole. That meant that I had to birdie this tough hole to force a sudden death playoff with him. The right side of the narrow fairway is lined with a bunch of palm trees in the rough. With the wind howling, I drove in the fairway. I then had a 4 iron for my second shot to the green.
The 18th green at Doral is slightly uphill, with the back of the green being pretty flat. To the left of the green is a sloping bank that ends in the lake. If your ball just barely misses the left edge of the green, it will bounce and roll into the water. The back of the green is kind of small, so there is little room for error there. That’s where the pin was.
I hit a perfect 4 iron that stopped ten feet to the right of the hole. Ken Venturi was the player-commentator in the television tower behind the green. As I learned later, after my ball settled he kept talking on TV about what a great shot it was, especially under the circumstances.I hit the putt and the ball stopped, with what seemed like almost half of the ball hanging over the hole. It was one of those putts you wished you could wait a few minutes for because it just might drop in the hole.
But alas, no such luck. Phil won and I finished second. My consolation was that it gave me a big boost is going on to having a lengthy and somewhat successful career on the PGA Tour.
Well, after something like fifty years of the Doral Open, the PGA Tour decided to call it quits at Doral, with the last tournament there in 2016. At that time, Donald Trump was well into his political campaign for the Republican nomination for president. I don’t know if that had anything to do with the Tour’s decision. But it sure looked like it did. Of course, Tour officials wouldn’t admit that if it did.
I say all of this because an announcement was just made that a Miami-area (Hialeah) strip club named Shadow Cabaret will soon have its own one-day golf tournament at Trump Doral. (Many call it by this shortened name.) Each player, or foursome, will have one of the club’s nude strippers as its “caddy girl” to drive the golf cart. There will be no nudity. But when the “Shadow All Star Tournament” is finished, the girls and guys will head to the club where there likely will be.
This will be a first for Doral. (Please excuse me as I have a hard time calling it “Trump Doral.”) Due to this, the Trump name is already being displayed at Shadow Cabaret. So, the current president of the USA is having his name displayed in a strip club for advertisement of one of his many properties.
The Trump Organization, which owns Trump Doral, was asked about this. It issued a statement saying financial proceeds from the event would be going to a “worthy cause”–a Miami children’s charity.
Maybe Trump Doral needs a charity. The Washington Post reports that it is now in a tax dispute with the State of Florida. Public records show that net operating income for Trump Doral fell 69% between 2015 and 2017 and rebounded very slightly in 2018. A tax consultant for the Trump Organization admitted about Trump Doral, “They are severely underperforming” compared to other resorts in the area. She added, “There is some negative connotation that is associated with the brand.”