In an extract from his volume on Donald Trump and golf, Rick Reilly explains why the presidents game can tell us more about him than a roomful of psychologists
Donald’s Trump’s boast about winning 18 club championships is a lie that’s so over-the-top Crazytown it loses all credibility among golfers the second it’s 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 are able to fit in your pouch. Like Trump, he’s in the right age bracket, at six years younger than Trump. Like Trump, he’s got all the money he needs to play as many club championships as he can fly to. Unlike Trump, he’s as penalty a golfing businessman as you can find. Marucci took 19 -year-old Tiger Woods- 24 years his junior- to the last pit of the 1995 US Amateur before finally losing.
So, Buddy Marucci, do YOU have 18 club championships?
“Ha!” he laughed.” No style. I have a few, but nowhere near that many. It’s hard to win a club championship. I might have eight. Tops .”
This is a guy who’s been transgressing par for the past 45 years. He belongs to nearly every creamy course in the world- Winged Foot, Seminole, Pine Valley, Cypress Point. If it’s on a top 10 in the world listing, Marucci likely has a locker there.
When Trump told Gary Player he’d won 18 championships, Player scoffed.” I told him that if anyone beats him, he kicks them out. So, he had to win .”
Was Trump’s name on the wall of any clubs he didn’t 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 he’d opened? Oh, yes.
Trump International in West Palm Beach, Florida, has a plaque on the wall that lists all the men who’ve won the men’s club championship. Trump seems three times: 1999, 2001, and 2009. But hold on. The course wasn’t even open in 1999. Turns out, then White House spokesperson Hope Hicks actually being invited into 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 he’d won the club championship again at Trump International. But the plaque for that year lists the win as “Tom Roush.” The catch? It wasn’t 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 discrepancies between “Club Champion” and” Super Senior Club Champion” represents 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 didn’t know the difference .”