Donald Trump declared himself a huge fan of new world No 1 Rory McIlroy, insisting golf’s golden boy doesn’t need his midas touch.
“Rory is fantastic, he’s amazing,” Trump said at Doral on Thurday, where he spoke about his plans to invest more than $200 million in making the famous Miami resort one of golf’s must-play destinations.
“What he did in the final round at the Honda was wonderful I’ve watched so many guys do an El Foldo down that stretch and it’s not even their fault. But the way he chipped and putted over the last few holes… I think he’s great. He’s a star and a great young guy. There is zero improvement to be made, in fact, I want Rory to improve me.”
Trump has bought Doral for $150 million and now plans to revamp the TPC Blue Monster championship course and make Doral the ultimate golf destination.
“It’s a tremendous location, 800 acres right smack in the middle of Miami, and we look to make this one of the great places anywhere in the world for golf,” Trump said. “It needs a lot of work. It’s a little bit tired, and that’s OK. And we’re going to do something special.”
Trump said the course would be shut down after the 2013 tournament, and Gil Hanse - selected on Wednesday to design the course in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics - will renovate what is now called the TPC Blue Monster.
Trump is likely to change the name of the Doral course but won’t decide until the project is finished.
“When we have spent the money, and when it’s at the highest level of luxury and highest level of golf … then we are going to make the decision,” he said. “But it will be in some form ‘Doral.’”
He added: “Doral can be the absolute best,” he said. “We are going to do this really right. I view it as a business, but it’s not my main business.
“But more importantly, I will spend much more money on fixing Doral than somebody else because somebody else is looking for a return on investment. I’m not. I’m looking to make an amazing place, and the return will come. So I think it’s a good thing for golf.”