President Donald Trump is certainly known to bend the truth. The Washington Post has counted nearly a dozen false or misleading claims per day of his presidency, while Politifact scored 70 percent of his statements as Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire.
As it turns out, that propensity to lie also carries over to his longtime love of golf.
There’s already been the story of Trump naming himself the winner of a tournament he never played in, but former Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly spells out the extent of the lying and cheating in his new book, “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump,” which will be available on Tuesday.
“To say ‘Donald Trump cheats’ is like saying ‘Michael Phelps swims,'” Reilly writes. “He cheats at the highest level. He cheats when people are watching and he cheats when they aren’t. He cheats whether you like it or not. He cheats because that’s how he plays golf … if you’re playing golf with him, he’s going to cheat.”
Mulligans and tampering with balls
Trump’s most blatant cheating reportedly comes in the form of not playing his shots — or others’ — where they actually land.
When Trump played golf with Tiger Woods, world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and PGA Tour veteran Brad Faxon in February, Trump hit a ball into the lake. But when the other players weren't looking, he got out another ball and hit another try, although that too went into the lake.
“So he drives up,” Faxon said, “and drops where he should’ve dropped the first time and hits it on the green.”
The cheating is not just to impress pro golfers. Reilly also details stories with ESPN announcer Mike Tirico, LPGA pro Suzann Pettersen and actor Samuel L. Jackson. In one of the most egregious stories, Tirico remembers hitting one of the best shots of his life squarely onto the green, but when he walked over, the ball was 50 feet away in a bunker.
“Trump’s caddy came up to me and said, ‘You know that shot you hit on the par 5?’” Tirico says. “‘It was about 10 feet from the hole. Trump threw it in the bunker. I watched him do it.’”
Lying is par for the course for Trump
One of the strangest things about Trump’s history of lying while golfing is that he’s reportedly a very respectable golfer. However, he habitually lies about how good he is, including his self-reported 2.8 handicap, which is less than a stroke away from PGA legend and frequent golfing partner Jack Nicklaus.
Even his courses contain lies, from his Trump National Golf Club wrongly claiming that a Civil War battle took place on site to his Bedminster course falsely attributing praise from famed golf architect Tom Fazio.
Still, none of this is particularly shocking to anyone who has followed Trump. After he repeatedly admonished former President Obama for golfing and said that he would have no time to play himself, Trump has played a round every 4.2 days — twice Obama’s rate. And, naturally, he tends to lie and cover up how often he plays while on the job.
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