Podcast: The Detail
Commander in Cheat
President Donald Trump loves his golf. Not only does he play - a lot - he owns golf courses, and he’s spent millions developing them. He is very good, but he’s not as good as he says he is.
Many people who’ve played with him say he cheats. He likes to move the ball on the green; his security people help him out of the rough; and he changes the number on his score sheet.
Rick Reilly is a former writer for Sports Illustrated who wants to set the record straight about Trump and his golf, with his book Commander in Cheat. He says it’s not just the game that he lies about.
Reilly says he’s ‘won’ games when he hasn’t even played the tournament. He will buy a new course, play the first round by himself and declare he’s won the first ever club championship - when there wasn’t a championship.
“There are so many stories - this guy, if his lips are moving, he’s lying,” says Reilly.
“And he lies all the time about how he plays.”
As an example, he says he’s a 2.8 handicap which means he shoots, on average, just a little bit worse than a professional golfer. A 2.8 handicapper shoots about a 75 every round.
“But I know that any time he’s played on American tournaments in television ... he shoots more like 88, 92, 90. To get a handicap in golf you’ve got to take your last 20 scores and you average them out. Well did you realise it took him eight years to get those scores? Even though he played 100 times a year? He was lying and just taking the very best scores ... that’s pretty diabolical.”
Ironically, while the President is more likely to be on a nine handicap, that’s still a very good handicap, especially for a 72-year-old.
Reilly says Trump ticks every box there is for narcissism. “He has to win no matter what, even if he has to lie.”
So what’s the big deal? So he lies!
“This is a man who’s running the world! He has no problem cheating, and lying to himself! I don’t know about politics, I just know about golf.
“If he can cheat on the golf course, is it that much farther to think that he would cheat on a wife ... cheat on a girlfriend ... cheat on his taxes ... cheat to win an election ... cheat to stop an investigation? Of course he would!
“Why this matters is because it’s a window into his soul. And his soul is as rotten as a year-old banana.”
Reilly says everyone knows the President is a golf cheat, but they still play with him.
“You get to see the 20 golf carts, one with the scud missile; and you get to see the vials of blood that they carry around with him, and the nuclear football, and the SWAT teams around him and the marines and the secret service ... and it’s all free - it’s pretty exciting, heady stuff.
“But it isn’t golf.”
Rick Reilly's book Commander in Cheat is available now.
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