“They say that if you cheat at golf, you cheat at business.”
You don’t have to have 15 tour wins to your name to spot a golf cheater, but it certainly adds some credibility to your claim when you do. Suzann Pettersen is an LPGA Tour member and a friend of Donald Trump. As such, she’s golfed with the now-president on countless occasions for more than a decade and can confirm that yup, he cheats at golf.
Depending on how inclusive one’s definition of “cheating” is, she also freely admits that Trump regularly lies about his score, touting far fewer strokes than his handicap or scorecards would suggest.
Recently, Pettersen spoke with the Norwegian publication Verdens Gang about his systematically shady golf practices. Not mincing any words about her friend’s approach to the game, she shared:
“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. I’m pretty sure he pays his caddie well, since no matter how far into the woods he hits the ball, it’s in the middle of the fairway when we get there.”
And that “three handicap” (the number of strokes by which a golfer regularly exceeds par) Trump is so quick to boast about? Well, that’s pure fantasy, according to Pettersen.
“Yes, yes, that happens all the time. 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 some place. I just laugh. I’m someone who likes being teased and I like teasing others, and Trump takes it well, and that must be why he likes me.”
Perhaps that’s why he likes her. Or perhaps the universe of golfers — professionals, no less — who would tolerate this sort of behavior is small enough that Trump cherishes those who do.
After her remarks were published, Pettersen was quick to walk back her comments, stating that she said them in a lighthearted manner rather than as accusations.
According to the article, Trump regularly forgoes his putt on the 18th and final hole to keep his score a stroke or two lower than it should actually be.
Concern over Trump’s golf course behavior is far from paramount, but the parade of accounts similar to this one suggests that his cheating is so flagrant and frequent that it’s hard not to conflate the practices with those of a man who carries with him both entitlement and a disregard for any rule that hampers his ego or reputation.