You think staring down a putt in a playoff with a trip to the US Open on the line is tough? Try sitting across from Donald Trump at his office in the Trump Towers and asking for a job.
One guy has done — and passed — both.
John Nieporte earned a spot in golf’s next major, to be played at Merion Golf Club next weekend, beating 15-year-old David Snyder on the first playoff hole on Tuesday. And one of the first people to congratulate him:
Congratulations to my head pro of Trump International Golf Club (Florida) John Nieporte for qualifying for the U.S. Open!@usopengolf
So how did the 46-year-old Nieporte build these nerves of steel? For starters, how about looking Trump in the eye hearing, “You’re hired!” — twice?
First, Nieporte caddied for Trump while in his 20s at Trump International in West Palm Beach, Fla., on weekends, including carrying his bag when Trump won the club championship. "That wasn’t because of me; the man is an unbelievable putter," said Nieporte, son of former NCAA champ and longtime Winged Foot pro Tom Nieporte.
A couple of years later, when Trump International needed a new teaching pro, and John Nieporte thought his resume fit the job description. Carrying Trump’s sticks again, Nieporte struck up a conversation with Trump about the position. Trump wanted to "find a player that can teach, and a pro that can play," Nieporte recalled.
Trump interviewed Nieporte on the course, during a round. On the ninth hole, the job was his.
After Trump moved Nieporte to Trump’s course in Westchester, NY, Nieporte wanted to return to Trump International as the head pro. All that was required? Convince The Donald in an interview in his office. Trump took the meeting and grilled Nieporte for more than two hours. Nieporte remembers thinking, "Holy smokes, you are in Mr. Trump’s office."
But the job was his yet again, allowing Nieporte to move his wife and four daughters back to South Florida.
Only now they have to book a trip to Pennsylvania next week.