President Donald Trump expects 'slightly less' patrons at fall Masters

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As golf made its return to live, televised action, President Donald Trump shared a prediction for what the crowds might look like this fall at Augusta National.

President Trump called in during the broadcast of the TaylorMade Driving Relief charity match Sunday at Seminole Golf Club, where he shared his thoughts on a wide array of topics. But among them was his expectation for crowd size at the 2020 Masters, which has been postponed to Nov. 12-15 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You’re going to have a Masters pretty soon that’ll be a little unusual,” Trump said. “That’ll be slightly less than the usual crowds that you have. But it’s great to be playing.”

Augusta National officials have not yet released any information regarding a patron policy for this year’s Masters. When the PGA Tour returns to official competition next month, at least the first four events will be played without fans present.

Trump explained that the return of live sports is important to “the psyche of our country,” and he expressed optimism about returning the country to a sense of normalcy while continuing efforts to identify and produce a coronavirus vaccine or cure.

“We want to get it back to where it was. We want big, big stadiums loaded with people,” Trump said. “We want to have, when you have the Masters, we want to have big crowds. Right now, that’s not what they’re planning, but you never know. Things can happen very quickly.”

Live blog: TaylorMade Driving Relief at Seminole Golf Club

Trump has some firsthand experience with most of the players in Sunday’s match at Seminole, having played previously with Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler. He had high praise specifically for Fowler, predicting that he’ll eventually win majors and “have a lot of wins.”

But it was his play with McIlroy that recently came under scrutiny, as the Ulsterman explained on a recent podcast that he doesn’t expect to tee it up again with Trump following their round together in 2017. Trump didn’t specifically address McIlroy’s recent comments, instead describing his overall interactions with Tour players after playing several casual rounds with some of the game’s biggest stars.

“A lot of them are very political, actually,” Trump said. “Some like my politics very much, and probably some don’t. I guess the ones that don’t, I don’t get to see as much. But they seem to like it.”