President Trump, who notoriously golfs in his “spare” time away and owns 17 golf courses the world over, allegedly even tried to cheat against Tiger Woods, sportswriter Rick Reilly claims in his new book Commander-in-Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump.
“He cheats like a mafia accountant,” Reilly told John Berman, of CNN’s New Day. “He cheats crazy. He cheats whether you’re watching or not. He cheats whether you like it or not. He tried to cheat Tiger Woods in a match… [Trump] hits two balls in the water, doesn’t count either, and pretends that he almost tied Tiger Woods.”
The sportswriter’s Seusslike checklist only cracks the surface of his book’s shocking and colorful details that describe a golfer who, had he not owned the clubs, would have been suspended from play or kicked off courses years ago. Among the worst offenses: having Secret Service agents reportedly move his balls out of difficult lies—or just going ahead and kicking them himself to improve his chances. In the book, caddies at Winged Foot in New York are said to refer to the president as “Pelé” because, like the Brazilian soccer legend, he kicks the ball so much.
In his reporting, Reilly interviewed two of Trump’s golf-world aides, including his social-media director Dan Scavino and an ex-Marine identified only as A.J. Reilly’s book tells the story of when Trump’s caddie put someone in a chokehold for speaking against the boss—and took the blame when the commander-in-chief hit himself in the face with a golf club.
“It doesn’t matter who it is, [Trump] has to be the winner,” Reilly continued. “What really bothers me is that he told people on the campaign trail—I don’t know if you remember this—but he said ‘I’m a winner, I’ve got 18 club championships and that’s against the best players in the club.’ But I knew he was lying because he told me how he does it: Whenever he opens a new course that he buys, he plays the first round by himself and calls that the club championship. He puts his name on the wall.”
“He really needs to win, I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” Reilly added. “What it reveals about him is he has to win no matter what. It’s not that he loves golf, he just loves beating you.”