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- Author Rick Reilly’s new book covers President Trump’s relationship with golf.
- According to Reilly, members say Trump once took a child’s ball off the green to help him win a championship at one of his clubs.
- It’s not the first time Trump has been accused of cheating on the golf course.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories
President Donald Trump once reportedly took a child’s golf ball to cheat and win a club championship in 2018, according to the author of a new book who spoke with members at the club.
According to sportswriter Rick Reilly, whose new book "Commander in Cheat" explores Trump’s relationship with golf and how it may inform his presidency, Trump’s desire to win goes even further than we had previously known.
Speaking with Vox’s Sean Il ling, Reilly told what he believed to be the "most outrageous" cheating story in the book.
Trump had missed the club championship at his Trump International course in Florida while meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
About a month later, Trump was back at Trump International when he saw Ted Virtue, an investor who is a member of the club and had won the championship while Trump was away. Virtue was playing with his son, who was about 10 or 11 years old, according to Reilly, when Trump rode his cart over to them at the 12th hole.
Trump reportedly joked that Virtue only won his championship because he had been out of town, and then challenged him to play the final seven holes of the course for the title. Then, things really got weird.
From Reilly, who verified the story with members of the club:
Ted tries to laugh it off, but Trump is dead serious. Trump says, "We’re going to play these last six holes for the championship." And Ted’s like, "I’m playing with my son, but thanks anyway." But Trump says, "No, your son can play too." So they end up playing.
They get to a hole with a big pond on it. Both Ted and his son hit the ball on the green, and Trump hits his in the water. By the time they get to the hole, Trump is lining up the kid’s ball. Only now it’s his ball and the caddie has switched it. The kid’s like, "Daddy, that’s my ball."
But Trump’s caddie goes, "No, this is the president’s ball; your ball went in the water." Ted and his son look at each other confused, not sure if this is really happening. And Trump’s caddie says, "This is the president’s ball. I don’t know what to tell you."
According to Golf.com, Trump told Virtue that they could be co-champions, but on Trump’s locker at the club, his plaque makes no indication that he shares the title.
It’s just the latest in a series of stories that have steadily come out about Trump’s golf game during his presidency. Speaking with a Norwegian newspaper, LPGA golfer Suzann Pettersen said that she had seen Trump’s cheating up close.
"He cheats like hell. So I don’t quite know how he is in business. They say that if you cheat at golf, you cheat at business," Petterson said.
She continued: "He always says he is the world’s best putter. But in all the times I’ve played him, he’s never come close to breaking 80. But what’s strange is that every time I talk to him, he says he just golfed a 69, or that he set a new course record or won a club championship someplace."
With the context of Reilly’s story, Trump’s low scores don’t seem so strange anymore.
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