The strangest part is that Trump is reportedly a fairly good golfer, at least according to the people who watch him play. He might not have won 18 club championships or have a 2.8-stroke handicap, as he claims, but he can hold his own without having to kick the ball all over the course. Why go to such great lengths to pointlessly lie about his abilities, then, particularly when everyone knows he’s cheating? “They call him on it, but he just shrugs and cheats some more,” writes Reilly. A Harvard psychiatrist blamed “a narcissistic personality disorder” for Trump’s pathological cheating. “People with his disorder have no conscience about it,” Dr. Lance Dodes is quoted as saying in Commander in Cheat. “He has no sense of morality about things.”

More than anything else, my takeaway is not just that Trump is a cheater, but that he’s the saddest sort of cheater, the kind that cheats himself. Sure, he deprives himself of “the joy, the endless challenge, golf brings” by not playing legitimately. But I think it’s more than that: Trump can’t stand himself if he isn’t winning, to the point that he self-deludes. Why else would he continue to cheat when nothing — not money, not reputation — is at stake? As golf executive Ken Slutsky recalls in one story about a time he played with Trump in Los Angeles, “at the end [Trump] said, ‘You owe me $27.’ I said, ‘Donald, you cheated on every single hole. I’m not paying you a dime.’ He just kind of shrugged and left. He didn’t seem to care.”