Trump and the Chronic Cheating Syndrome: Golf Says It All
By Nour Rida
“To find a man’s true character, play golf with him.” — P.G. Wodehouse
Philosophy influences public affairs and politics. But to understand Trump, we do not need epistemology, he just lies; it is that simple. Other than that video circulating throughout social media in which he (for the fifth time as media outlets report) claims that his father was German, reports and reviews of a book on Trump being a serial cheater and liar while playing golf made the headlines and went viral on the internet.
In “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Donald Trump,” the sportswriter Rick Reilly shares stories of the US President Donald Trump bending the rules.
According to Reilly, Trump “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, a former Sports Illustrated columnist who has played with Trump in the past, spoke to dozens of players — both amateur and professional — to recount some of the president’s worst scams on the course. According to 18 golfers who have played with Trump in the past decade, the president takes multiple mulligans in a round without a second of consideration. A mulligan is when golfers repeat their shot without penalizing themselves on their scorecard.
Relying on testimony from playing partners, caddies, and former Trump employees, Reilly wrote that “Trump doesn’t just cheat at golf, he cheats like a three-card Monte dealer. He throws it, boots it, and moves it. He lies about his lies. He fudges and foozles and fluffs.”
The president, especially at his own courses, has also broken one of the most sacred norms, driving on the green at one of his private golf clubs in June in total disregard for protocols or courtesy.
Some of his tactics are flagrant: not counting foul shots, dropping balls closer to the hole, and improving his lies. At Winged Foot, a storied New York course where Trump is a member, Reilly writes, “the caddies got so used to seeing him kick his ball back onto the fairway they came up with a nickname for him: ‘Pele.’” (For those who don’t know soccer, the Brazilian Pelé was one of the best kickers of a ball in history.)
In a 2013 tweet aimed at entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Trump wrote, "Golf match? I've won 18 Club Championships including this weekend. @mcuban swings like a little girl with no power or talent. Mark's a loser." Trump has never made public a list of his club titles, and fact-checking calls to all of the Trump properties on this subject went universally un-returned. Winged Foot is the one non-Trump club at which the President is a member, and his name does not appear on any of the honor boards in the old clubhouse.
On 11 March 2019, Golf.com reported that President Trump’s 2018 club championship at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, may not have been totally legitimate. Though a plaque at the club lists the president as the victor, the championship was actually won by a 58 year-old hedge fund manager named Ted Virtue. Trump didn’t even compete in the event, but when he ran into Virtue at the club on a later date; he challenged him to an impromptu nine-hole match for the right to the title. Mr. Virtue couldn’t not accept the challenge; Trump won. The title was his.
Running for the presidential race, Trump declared that he might never again see his courses if he was elected. “Because I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to go golfing, believe me,” he said. “Believe me. Believe me, folks.”
But that turned out to be another lie too. Since taking office on Jan. 20, 2017, Mr. Trump has reportedly been on the grounds of his golf courses or played golf elsewhere 178 times since becoming President, and that's as of March 31, 2019. Not only that, but also Trump was particularly critical of how many rounds President Barack Obama played in office, and so now he looks somewhat hypocritical in retrospect.
Also interestingly, the New York Times report from November 2015 that says Donald Trump's Northern Virginia Trump National Golf Club features a plaque between the 14th and 15th holes honoring a Civil War battle at that precise spot, reminding golfers of how many soldiers, from North and South died there. The inscription by signed by Trump read “Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot. The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as ‘The River of Blood.’ It is my great honor to have preserved this important section of the Potomac River!”
Only one little problem here: several Civil War historians have confirmed that no battle took place anywhere near the memorial. The NY Times checked with various historians in the area who had trouble tying the site of Trump's course to any such event.
Basically Trump is a liar, who likes to golf, and when he’s golfing he likes to cheat; he has a chronic cheating syndrome that apparently is evident in his politics as well.
If Trump could be persuaded to spend his entire term playing golf, we might all be better off. Trump’s world is a parallel universe in which truth takes many forms, none of them necessarily based on reality. In fact, he lives life in a reckless disregard of rules, protocols and ethics.