Although he routinely criticized former President Barack Obama for playing golf, Donald Trump is on track to spend more time golfing during his presidency than Obama ever did. But according to a new book by sportswriter Rick Reilly, Trump doesn't just play golf — he allegedly cheats to win. In his new book Commander in Cheat, Reilly recounted an occasion when Trump reportedly stole a golf ball from a kid to win a club championship.
According to Reilly, Trump paid a visit to his Trump International golf course near Mar-a-Lago last year, about a month after his historic meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore. The president left Trump International with a club championship, Reilly wrote, but he wasn't the original winner. Per a story first reported by Golf Magazine, Ted Virtue — one of the investors behind the movie Green Book — won the 2018 championship title, but Trump reportedly told Virtue that his victory didn't count because Trump had been out of town for his summit with Kim.
Trump reportedly asked Virtue to compete in a challenge for the championship title. Virtue initially tried to refuse, Reilly wrote, because he was playing with his 10- or 11-year old son. But the president insisted, saying that Virtue's son could play as well, so all three of them supposedly ended up playing the last six holes of the course together. Then, when they got to a hole with a big pond, Trump reportedly switched balls with Virtue's son after his own ball landed in the water. Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment.
Both Virtue and his son hit their balls onto the green, Reilly wrote, while Trump's landed in the pond. But when they approached the hole, they noticed Trump lining up Virtue's son's ball.
“Daddy, that’s my ball," Virtue's son reportedly said.
“No, this is the president’s ball; your ball went in the water," Trump's caddie replied. “This is the president’s ball. I don’t know what to tell you.”
Trump then went on to make that putt and win one up, Reilly recounted, and he subsequently claimed the club championship for himself. And this isn't the only time Trump cheated in golf, Reilly told Vox's Sean Illing. Illing pointed out that Trump claims to have won at least 20 club championships at his golf courses, but Reilly described that as 100 percent a lie."
"I actually played with him once, and he told me how he does it: Whenever he opens a new golf course, because he owns 14 and operates another five, he plays the first club champion by himself and declares that the club championship and puts his name on the wall," Reilly told Illing.
"The National Golf Foundation says 90 percent of people don’t cheat when they play," Reilly added, noting that Trump reportedly justifies cheating at golf just to "keep it fair." "But this guy cheats like a mafia accountant."
Reilly went on to tell Illing that he wrote Commander in Cheat to draw attention to Trump's supposed cheating. Reilly's dad taught him that people should never cheat in golf because it's a "gentleman's game," Reilly said, and he wants to expose the "big orange splotch" that the president has left on the game of golf.