SI: You recently paid $27 million for Ocean Trails Golf Course in
Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., which famously lost its 18th hole to
a landslide three years ago. What are your plans for the course,
besides renaming it Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles?
DT: It's my strong belief that this is the finest piece of land
for golf in America--two miles along the Pacific. I'm putting $45
million into redesigning the course and clubhouse. It will either
be private or a daily fee, in the $300 range.
SI: You already have eponymous courses in New York and Florida,
and another under construction in New Jersey. Are you giving up
skyscrapers in favor of golf courses?
DT: What I'm doing is building the finest courses in America, but
I'm not looking to have 200 or even 100 of them. I'm only
interested in building a course that I go to frequently. If I
can't raise hell and make sure it's perfect I don't believe it
works as well.
SI: You seem to be drawn to courses in distress. True?
DT: No. I seem drawn to good deals.
SI: The LPGA will hold its season-ending event at Trump
International in West Palm Beach, Fla., this week. What is the
tour's commitment to continuing the event there?
DT: They just signed on for another two years. It's been very
successful. We've had the largest crowds in tournament history.
Fans go there to see the ladies, but also for the course.
SI: You and the LPGA seem like strange bedfellows.
DT: I have a great respect for the tour and the quality of play.
Last year I played in the pro-am with Annika, and she started
birdie-eagle-eagle. We tied for first with 19 under gross.
SI: What was the fallout from last year's brutal course setup?
DT: Well, it was very tough, but I wanted it that way. The two
best golfers in the world came in first and second, Karrie and
Annika. That tells you it's a great course.
SI: How tough will it play this year?
DT: I'm going to make it easier for them. I don't like to see the
girls shooting 85s. I don't want to embarrass them.
SI: But don't LPGA personnel set up the course?
DT: Yes, but they have a hard time dictating to me.
COLOR PHOTO: SIMON BRUTY