"He wanted to play good golf and we wanted to watch him play good golf," Taylor Funk told CNN of President Donald Trump's New Year's Day golf outing

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
January 02, 2018 12:45 PM

A young man who joined President Donald Trump for a round of golf at the commander in chief’s West Palm Beach course on New Year’s Day told CNN the president was “fully in the moment” during the game — and freed himself of any distractions.

“It was all golf,”  Taylor Funk, who identifies himself as a pro golfer on his Twitter page, said on New Day Tuesday morning when asked whether the president worked at all on the course, or took any calls or briefings. “He was fully in the moment and with us.”

Later, he added: “I feel whatever he’s doing he’s going to be doing 100% at that time. He wanted to play good golf and we wanted to watch him play good golf. It was a lot of fun because he actually did play some good golf, and was getting excited making some putts.”

Funk also shared a YouTube video of himself golfing alongside the president on Monday, which offered a rare, unobstructed glimpse of Trump on the course.

The video includes footage of Trump — who was wearing a red “USA” cap with the number “45” on the side — hitting a ball off a tee, sitting in a golf cart, offering a fellow player a fist bump after sinking a putt and giving advice to a fellow player.

The golf outing took place just one day after Trump and his family took part in a black-tie New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago, the same night eldest son Donald Jr., who is ensnared in the Russian collusion investigation, celebrated his 40th birthday.

Trump golfed several times while spending the Christmas holiday at his home in Mar-a-Lago, and his hobby made headlines last week when a white truck was spotted blocking a space between the hedges that photographers and TV cameras previously used to catch a glimpse of the president on the course.


“The president and his staff doesn’t really tell us when he is golfing, and we have taken to going outside the golf course and filming him as he golfs through a break in hedges near the club,” CNN’s Dan Merica told Don Lemon while discussing the truck.

He added that although the incident “may seem trivial,” it’s actually “important to get video of the president as he does these things on a daily basis.”

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Trump has been repeatedly criticized for the time he’s spent on the golf course while president, which strikes many as hypocritical since he repeatedly slammed then-President Barack Obama for the time he spent on the golf course while in office.

According to Politifact’s Trump Golf Tracker, the president has already outpaced Obama in the amount of time he spends on the green. As of Dec. 28 in the first year of both men’s presidencies, Trump played golf 84 times to Obama’s 26, at a cost of at least $42,493,519 to taxpayers.

Meanwhile, Funk says in his YouTube video log that he had both breakfast and lunch with Trump, and “the Secret Service was amazing” during the outing, which also included Funk’s dad, Fred.

“Really just amazing day. He’s an amazing guy. Very engaging, very thoughtful, asked a lot of question — wanted to know how he could be a better golfer, a better president, gave us insights in business and life and the world. It was just an amazing time and an experience we’ll never forget.”