We Now Know All The Ways Donald Trump Cheats At Golf

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Donald Trump loves golf. It’s the one thing about his personal interests that’s readily apparent. You could argue it’s one of the most presidential things about him, really: presidents love to play golf, no matter what political party.

But the author of a new book about Trump and golf argues he doesn’t play golf at all. He brutalizes it, and finds every way possible to win. That includes, of course, cheating. We’ve already seen parts of this book earlier in the year, which went into detail about how Trump ‘won’ a golf tournament he didn’t even play in. There was also the anecdote about how Trump once hit himself in the head with a golf club when he slammed it down in frustration, then blamed his fiercely loyal caddie for hitting him.

But in the piece for The Atlantic, Reilly goes into greater detail about all the other ways in which he cheats, including manipulating the rules and golf balls while he’s on the course.

He cheats. He lies. He kicks. And not just his ball—yours, too. He props up a 2.8 handicap that’s faker than WrestleMania 35. He wins tournaments he never even played in. He wins tournaments that weren’t even held.

He does all of this because he has to win. A loss is to Donald Trump what a shower is to the Wicked Witch of the West. He has to win no matter how much cheating, lying, and pencil erasing it takes. He has to win whether you’ve caught him or not. Maybe it was his father beating into his kid brain, Win, win, win. Be a winner, over and over. Maybe it was where he learned the game—Cobbs Creek, a scruffy public course in Philadelphia full of hustlers and con men who taught him to cheat your opponent before he cheats you.

But Reilly makes it clear that cheating and just being rude are all connected here. Hitting first and taking off before his opponents have hit means he can find his ball and improve his lie before anyone else sees it.

It’s all part of the act, and because he only plays on his courses, no one is there to tell him he can’t cheat his way to winning.

He drives his golf cart on greens. He drives it on tee boxes. He never, ever walks, even on the courses he owns that have banned carts (Trump Turnberry.)

He always hits first, never mind who won the last hole, and then jumps in his Super Mario Kart with his caddy and peels off before you’ve even hit, the better to be 150 yards ahead of you so the two of them can foozle, fudge, and foot-wedge in private.

He plays only at clubs with his name on them and only with caddies who love his $200-a-round tips.

Those that have tried to write about honesty in the Trump era have made this connection before: if you’re willing to lie about something small, why not lie about the more important things the presidency brings.

The piece is well-reasoned and I’m sure the book, Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump, will dig deeper into the psyche a bit more. But what’s important to note here is that Reilly has played golf with Trump before, and he noted how Trump doesn’t submit scores like he should to maintain his handicap. It’s all just a game, of course, but it’s an important one to Trump. One that he almost certainly isn’t as good at as he promises he is.