The Slatest

Donald Trump “Cheats at the Highest Level” in Golf, According to New Book

Donald Trump playing golf in a field of tall grass.
President Donald Trump plays a round of golf at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort in Scotland during the president’s first official visit to the United Kingdom on July 15, 2018. Leon Neal/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is known for having a liberal attitude toward the truth. And that character trait bleeds over to his golf game, according to former Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly. Many had accused Trump of cheating at golf in the past, but Reilly decided to dig deep on the issue and wrote a whole book about it titled Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump. It comes out Tuesday, but the New York Post got an early look and published a few excerpts from the book that include conversations with dozens of players about the president’s game to conclude that cheating is just the way Trump plays. A rule rather than an exception.

“To say ‘Donald Trump cheats’ is like saying ‘Michael Phelps swims,’ ” writes Rick Reilly in the book. “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.” Reilly, who has played with Trump, also mocked Trump’s claim of a 2.8 handicap, a ridiculous allegation when Jack Nicklaus, often considered the greatest golfer in history, has a handicap of 3.4. “If Trump is a 2.8,” Reilly writes, “Queen Elizabeth is a pole vaulter.”

One of the people Reilly talks to for his book is actor Samuel L. Jackson, who had already publicly accused Trump of cheating at golf. “We clearly saw him hook a ball into a lake,” Jackson said, “and his caddy told him he found it!” But it isn’t just that he gets help with his own balls. He also makes it harder for those who are playing with him. Mike Tirico, the former ESPN football announcer, said that he once hit a great shot that he knew was close. But when he got to the putting green, it was much farther away than he expected. Tirico didn’t understand what happened until Trump’s caddy spoke up. “Trump’s caddy came up to me and said, ‘You know that shot you hit on the par 5?’ ” Tirico said. “ ‘It was about 10 feet from the hole. Trump threw it in the bunker. I watched him do it.’ ”