Friday, February 11, 2005

Don't be surprised to see Donald Trump standing in the unemployment line today, because Thursday, at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, he was fired at least 100 times.
Trump, the billionaire developer and star of the hit NBC reality show "The Apprentice," became a victim of his own catch phrase as he played Spyglass Hill Golf Course
Leave a putt short? He's fired.
Hit the ball in the rough? He's fired.
Walk up the fairway. He's fired.
On the 12th hole, a downhill par 3, Trump shanked a ball into the woods on the right, nearly hitting several spectators. What did the crowd say in unison?
Together now: "You're fired."
Trump told reporters later that literally 1,000 people fired him over that shot, though maybe 25 actually yelled at him. He exaggerates. So what? This guy's golf bag has the name of his own golf course embroidered on it. Everything with The Donald is larger than life.
In a news conference later, Trump quipped that the other amateurs and professionals on the course don't have to contend with the galleries terminating their employment every time they hit a less-than-stellar shot. But, he said, that's OK.
Despite his occasional troubles, Trump praised the course and its sister, The Pebble Beach Golf Links. In an interview last year, Trump said his planned new Los Angeles-area golf course would be better than Pebble Beach. But on Thursday, he had no disparaging remarks to make about the Peninsula's premier golf resort, calling it an amazing place.
After all, people lined up across Spyglass hill to get a little taste of the Trump mystique. Some fans wanted him to autograph their money. Others maybe stood to make a buck or two.
"Do you know how much that's worth?" Trump said, handing a fan an autographed baseball. "Here's $500."
After the happy fan got the signed ball, he insisted that he wasn't going to sell it.
"I better not see it on the Internet," Trump said. "Or I'll sue your ass."
San Jose student Jessica Smith, 14, played hookey from school to see Trump. She got an autograph and an eyeful.
"Out here, he just looks like a regular guy playing golf," she said. "On 'The Apprentice' his hair is all perfect. He has on makeup, you can tell."
Fans also were puzzled at the mystery of the man's hair. Unfortunately, he kept his coiffure hidden under a red cap, which was also embroidered with the name of one of his four golf courses.
Salinas resident Melanie Critchfield, 61, was one fan who came to check out The Hair. What was the deal? She couldn't tell, she said with an air of disappointment.
"If he would take off his hat, we could see more," she said.
She also said he looked different in public from the way he looks on "The Apprentice."
"He's a big guy. Bigger than I thought," said Critchfield. "I don't mean fat. He's a large individual."
Make that larger than life, at least according to Amy Simpson, 15, of San Carlos. After snagging Trump's signature, she and her friend Erica Rebolini, 15, of Belmont, were more than a little excited.
"We're all, like, jumping around," she said.
Trump signed many autographs and joked around with the galleries after hitting good or bad shots. He made good shots from sand traps, and kidded that he wished he could hit from the sand for every shot. Crowd members were surprised that he was so easy-going.
"He was very nice, very charming," said Diane Werth, 47, of Fremont, who said she never misses an episode of "The Apprentice." "I thought he would be more arrogant. He was warm."


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