In an extract from his book on Donald Trump and golf, Rick Reilly explains why the presidents game can tell us more about him than a roomful of psychologists
Donalds Trumps boast about winning 18 club championships is a lie thats so over-the-top Crazytown it loses all credibility among golfers the second its out of his mouth. To double check, I called the only guy who could come close: George Buddy Marucci, of Philadelphia. Like Trump, Marucci belongs to more clubs than you can fit in your bag. Like Trump, hes in the right age bracket, at six years younger than Trump. Like Trump, hes got all the money he needs to play as many club championships as he can fly to. Unlike Trump, hes as fine a golfing businessman as you can find. Marucci took 19-year-old Tiger Woods 24 years his junior to the last hole of the 1995 US Amateur before finally losing.
So, Buddy Marucci, do YOU have 18 club championships?
Ha! he laughed. No way. I have a few, but nowhere near that many. Its hard to win a club championship. I might have eight. Tops.
This is a guy whos been breaking par for the past 45 years. He belongs to nearly every creamy course in the world Winged Foot, Seminole, Pine Valley, Cypress Point. If its on a top 10 in the world list, Marucci probably has a locker there.
When Trump told Gary Player hed won 18 championships, Player scoffed. I told him that if anyone beats him, he kicks them out. So, he had to win.
Was Trumps name on the wall of any clubs he didnt own? Nope. Was it on the walls at Trump Washington in Virginia, a course that was already up and running when he bought it? Nope. Or Trump Jupiter, which was a Ritz Carlton course when he bought it? Nope. Was it on the wall at any of his own courses hed opened? Oh, yes.
Trump International in West Palm Beach, Florida, has a plaque on the wall that lists all the men whove won the mens club championship. Trump appears three times: 1999, 2001, and 2009. But hold on. The course wasnt even open in 1999. Turns out, then White House spokesperson Hope Hicks admitted to the Washington Post, Trump played in a soft opening round on 1 November of that year with a group of the early members, and declared it the club championship.
On 17 March 17 2013, Trump tweeted hed won the club championship again at Trump International. But the plaque for that year lists the winner as Tom Roush. The catch? It wasnt really the club championship at all. Trump won the Super Seniors Club Championship, which at most clubs is reserved for players 60 and older. Something to be proud of, sure, but not within a Super Walmart of beating the best young players in the club. The difference between Club Champion and Super Senior Club Champion is the difference between Vanna White and Betty White.
I remember Melania used to ask us What is this Super Seniors? recalls former Trump Westchester exec Ian Gillule. And Mr Trump would say, Oh, Super Seniors is better than just a regular club championship, honey. He was saying it tongue in cheek but she didnt know the difference.
If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.
And ... Don't forget to have fun!