For as long as I’ve been in the golf industry, I’ve always heard rumblings of Donald Trump’s rampant cheating on the golf course. A common joke from those who have played with him is that his caddies have extraordinary talent when it comes to the “foot wedge,” but apparently the GOP presidential hopeful is a generous tipper, so it’s hard to find a looper to give him up.
The Washington Post takes a closer look at whether Trump is big fat cheater on the golf course and it appears to span beyond taking a mulligan or improving a lie slightly, according to several celebrity sources.
In a 2012 interview with Q magazine, musician Alice Cooper named Trump as the “worst celebrity golf cheat.”
“I wish I could tell you that,” said Cooper. “It would be a shocker. I played with Donald Trump one time. That’s all I’m going to say.”
Trump denied ever playing with Cooper. “That’s a terrible thing to say about people, especially me,” he said.
Rick Reilly was also among those who told his tale to the Post.
As for Trump? “When it comes to cheating, he’s an 11 on a scale of one to 10,” Reilly said.
Reilly told The Washington Post about an afternoon when Trump wrote down scores he didn’t actually achieve on his scorecard, conceded putts to himself by raking the ball into the hole with his putter rather than striking it properly (“He rakes like my gardener!”), and even called a gimme — something a player might claim for a two-foot putt — on what should have been a chip shot.
“He took the world’s first gimme chip-in,” Reilly said. At one point, Trump, after taking a number of second shots, told Reilly to “make sure you write that I play my first ball. You don’t get a second ball in life.” In life it may or may not be true that a person gets a second chance; and yet, as Reilly wrote, on holes 1, 13 and 17, Trump did indeed get a second ball.
Trump obviously denied such allegations.
“I always thought he was a terrible writer,” he said. “I absolutely killed him, and he wrote very inaccurately. I would say that he’s a very dishonest writer. . . . I never took a gimme chip shot. . . . I don’t do gimme chip shots. If I asked his approval, that’s not cheating, number one. Number two, I never took one.”
The Post also recounts an anecdote from Mark Mulvoy, a former managing editor for Sports Illustrated. Mulvoy was playing with Trump at the Garden City Club and they were delayed momentarily by a passing storm, but when they returned to the sixth green, Mulvoy saw a ball 10 feet from the hole that he didn’t recall seeing before the respite.
“Who the hell’s ball is this?” he said.
“That’s me,” the real estate mogul said, according to Mulvoy.
“Donald, give me a f—— break,” Mulvoy recalls telling him. “You’ve been hacking away in the g—— weeds all day. You do not lie there.”
“Ahh, the guys I play with cheat all the time,” he recalls Trump replying. “I have to cheat just to keep up with them.”
Once again, when questioned about the story, Trump fiercely shot it down.
“I don’t even know who he is,” Trump said when asked about Mulvoy’s account.“I don’t drop balls, I don’t move balls. I don’t need to.”
When I interviewed him for a story on Ferry Point in the fall of 2013, he told me he had an ace on the par-3 12th around that time.
“Can you believe that?” he said. “It’s a great omen to the course.”
I nodded with a knowing smile. When I played the course last fall, I immediately noticed a commemorative plaque that had been placed next to the teeing ground on the 12th hole, memorializing Trump’s alleged hole-in-one. Everyone in my group got a kick out of it — not only because it was slightly absurd, but mostly because of Trump’s notorious reputation for his supposed delusional golfing abilities.
However, until we have real hard evidence, whether or not Trump actually cheats is still up for debate.