"In 2019, however, sportswriter Rick Reilly disputed the then-president’s claims, telling Vox, “This guy cheats like a mafia accountant.”
“Trump’s going around telling people he has won 20 [club championships],” Reilly said elsewhere in the interview. “But that’s 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.”
Rick Reilly's 2019 book on Donald Trump's golf cheating. None of this should surprise anyone. It's what pathological lying, sociopathic, narcissists do. They also have no self awareness, because they aren't wired to feel guilt, shame or embarrassment. Hence cheating is just a means to an end.
"10 astonishing claims from the book detailing President Trump's cheating at golf
Caddies have an interesting nickname for Trump
That nickname would be "Pele." The moniker came from loopers at Winged Foot who got so used to Trump kicking his ball from the rough into the fairway.
He's generous with gimmes
Trump might be a conservative. But when it comes to conceding putts, he's as liberal as it gets.
A putt is generally considered good if it's "inside the leather"—i.e., within a foot of the cup. What constitutes a gimme is slightly different in Trump's world, routinely giving others—and himself—10-footers. Reilly even asserts he once saw Trump give himself a chip-in.
He messes with his opponents' games
Reilly says that Trump will do whatever it takes to win a match. One time, that included interfering with sportscaster Mike Tirico's ball. Tirico hit what he thought was the shot of his life into a par 5, only to find his ball in a sand trap. After the round, Tirico discovered how it got there.
“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.’ ”
Pros say Trump's handicap is baloney
Trump boasts a 2.8 handicap, a figure that signals the type of stick that could make a run at a club championship.
It's also a figure that's been called B.S.
Former tour player and current FOX broadcaster Brad Faxon, a supporter and frequent partner of Trump's, called the president "a legit 10." LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam echoed those sentiments, calling Trump "a 9 or 10," as did Ernie Els ("an 8 or a 9").
Also odd: Despite making 165 visits to golf courses during his presidency, he's posted just one round on the USGA's GHIN service. There was a second round—Trump allegedly shot a 68 in October 2017—but he soon deleted it.
Trump doesn't always pay his bills
Reilly writes that Andrew Tesoro, who designed the clubhouse at Trump Westchester, was owed more than $141,000. The book details that when he went to Trump's lawyers, Tesoro claims they said he could sue, but he would be tied up in court for a decade and might not get paid. Tesoro, then a fledging architect, couldn't afford to do that. In that end, he received just $25,000.
Trump, according to Reilly, also tried to get out of repaying $200,000 club fees he owed members at Trump National in Jupiter, failed to pay overtime to waiters and staff at Doral (anywhere from $800 to $3,000 each) as well as a painter for a Doral renovation. Trump even tried to get out of paying a $1 million hole-in-one contest he offered, claiming the yardage was wrong, according to Reilly.
There could be financial discrepancies with his courses
On his financial-disclosure declaration during the presidential campaign, according to Reilly, Trump valued the Trump Westchester course, and every course he owned, at $50 million. However, Trump is currently suing the town of Ossining for its $11 million tax valuation of Westchester, as Trump's lawyers insist the course was only worth $1.4 million. Trump is facing similar issues with Trump Los Angeles (missed and late tax payments), and his Scottish properties at Turnberry and Aberdeen have failed to deliver the profits the Trump Organization promised to the government.
Trump is selective about believing in global warming
While Trump publicly has said climate change is a hoax, he's used global warming's effects in an application to local officials for a sea wall to protect his Trump International Links in Ireland.
The lack of Puerto Rico hurricane aid possibly stems from a Trump golf course beef
Perhaps the most audacious claim in the book, Reilly ties the humanitarian disaster in Puerto Rico to a personal grudge held by Trump. The president's Trump International (now known as Coco Beach Golf & Country Club) went bankrupt in 2015 that left Puerto Rico with a $33 million hole. The fractured relationship between Trump and the island, Reilly claims, partially explains the delayed response by the U.S. government after the hurricane's aftermath left Americans dying for water, medicine and power.
Trump illegally looked into building a golf resort in Cuba
In 1998, Reilly writes, Trump violated the American embargo on Cuba by sending a consulting firm to look into a possible golf resort. To disguise the trip, the book alleges, the business charged the venture as a "charity visit."
Arnold Palmer was apparently disgusted with Trump
Trump use to tell people he and the King were tight; Palmer told golf writer James Dodson "It was more like this," with Palmer crossing his hands and putting them on his own throat. Palmer's daughter, Peg, also recalled a moment during the 2016 campaign before Palmer passed away. "My dad made a sound of disgust—like 'uck' or 'ugg'—like he couldn't believe the arrogance and crudeness of this man who was the nominee of the political party that he believed in. Then he said, 'He's not as smart as we thought he was.'"