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One of Trump's Longtime Golf Buddies Says He 'Cheats Like Hell'

"No matter how far into the woods he hits the ball, it's in the middle of the fairway when we get there."
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images

President Trump is pretty proud of his golf game. Over the years, he's bragged that he's "won many club championships" and that there are "very few people that can beat me in golf." But according to a pro who's known him for more than a decade, Trump's impressive record doesn't have everything to do with skill.

"He cheats like hell," LPGA pro Suzann Pettersen told Norwegian outlet Verdens Gang. "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."


"I don’t quite know how he is in business," she added. "They say that if you cheat at golf, you cheat at business."

Apparently that's not the only shady move Trump pulls on the links. Pettersen said he also has a habit of taking "gimmes"—a putt so close to the hole, you don't have to actually hit it—that aren't really gimmes.

"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," Pettersen said. "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."

Pettersen said she and Trump are pretty good friends and talked at least once a month before he became president, so there's no clear reason to doubt her account of Trump's creativity on the course. But the president has gone out of his way to deny he cheats every time he's accused of it.

Whether or not he's actually playing fast and loose with the rules merited an entire Washington Post investigation, in which sportswriters and celebrities said Trump takes some major shortcuts on the links. Boxer Oscar De La Hoya has spelled out just how Trump allegedly cheats, and even Samuel L. Jackson has weighed in with an accusation about his golf ethics. When asked who the "worst celebrity golf cheat" was in 2012, Alice Cooper just said, "I played with Donald Trump one time. That’s all I’m going to say."


To be fair, Trump apparently has a pretty good swing, and some pros think he's the best golfer the White House has ever seen. Given just how much he plays—we know he's visited his golf courses 94 times since the inauguration—it doesn't seem like the guy would really need to cheat. It's tough to say what he's really up to out there on the course, but as we've come to learn over the course of this presidency, the answer here may just lie in a tweet.

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Related: Trump Works All Weekend… on His Swing