BEDMINSTER — Do you want to hear a laugh-out-loud funny story about a prominent women’s golfer meeting the president? Well, since you already clicked on that gotcha headline, we’ll tell you right now:
It’s not that president.
Donald Trump is here at the U.S. Women’s Open. He had at least six golfers visit him after their round on Saturday, but Shanshan Feng was not among them. She is the leader of the tournament at 9-under par, and given that she’s already a major championship winner who is ranked sixth in the world, she’ll be the prohibitive favorite in the final round.
Don’t know about her? Neither did I. But she has been easily the most charming golfer in her interview sessions this week, and that’s no surprise to the golfers who have covered her regularly.
She has told the story of her meeting Chinese president Xi Jinping after winning a bronze medal at the Olympics last year before, but after her steady third-round performance at Trump National, she delivered it with the timing of a headliner at a comedy club.
Here it is:
“We were lined up and then all the medalists were on the first row where the President will come in from one side and start shaking our hands to go all the way around, and I was a bronze medalist, I was closer to the side.
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“So it was like maybe ten people before me and then the president, here he came and I felt like he was charming, felt like it was a ring around him and I was like, “Oh, our president such a president.
“Then when it came to my turn, everybody — he was just shaking the hand and move on for like one second or two, but when it got to my turn I held his hand, right? I said, “president, you’re so handsome.”
The room erupts in laughter.
“I mean I didn’t even think about it, you know,” Feng said. “I just said it because that was what I was feeling at the time, and I said that. He was shocked. He actually stepped back and then shake my hand again. So (instead of) two seconds, I actually got to meet him for four seconds.”
She might get to meet Trump on Sunday if she holds onto her lead and he sticks around to award the trophy. That led to this hilarious exchange on Saturday night:
REPORTER: Have you thought about what you might say to President Trump if you had an opportunity to talk to him?
FENG: Hmmm. You want to talk about what I’m wearing tomorrow (instead)?
The room erupted in laughter, and Feng proceeded to explain that she was planning to wear her popular cow-patterned outfit for the final round. I don’t know about you, but I might have found my new favorite golfer.
Steve Politi may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevePoliti. Find NJ.com on Facebook.