Golf magazine is suggesting President Trump may have been an unknowing party to some fake news, of the real golfing variety.
On Monday, a federal holiday, the commander-in-chief invited a former competitor for the GOP presidential nomination, Sen. Lindsey Graham, out for some golf at the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia. The pair of politicians has had some unkind things to say about each other in the past. But that was forgotten on the windy, wet day.
According to Graham, the two men talked nothing but golf on the front nine, then got down to more serious business on the back nine — North Korea, immigration, Iran. But that’s not what became news.
What became news was Graham’s ensuing afternoon tweet: “President Trump shot a 73 in windy and wet conditions!”
To those of us who’ve played little or no golf, a score of 73 might be about right for nine holes — or fewer. But a septuagenarian avid amateur shooting 73 for 18 holes on a professional par 72 course seemed “patently unbelievable” to Michael Bamberger of Golf.com.
“A score of 84 would seem plausible,” Bamberger wrote. “Trump is a good golfer. But a 73, from a 71-year-old who plays often for a president but infrequently for a low-handicap golfer? Unlikely, to say the least.”
So, Bamberger interviewed Graham not for 32 or 34 minutes, but 33 minutes. And Graham stuck by his tweet.
“On the front nine, he shot even par,” Graham told Bamberger. “I shot a 41, which is good for me. He hit almost every fairway. He had seven Hogans, driving it on the fairway, hitting it on the green. On the back nine, he was one over, two over at the most. He had one birdie on the back, and just really hit the ball well. On the front, he made four 10- to 12-footers for par.”
Graham said the president of the United States has “a nice, compact swing…..is very accurate with his drives and hits his irons consistently….On a 430-yard par-4, he hit a really good drive, a three-wood, or a hybrid, and made a par…He sets up behind the ball. He has an athletic swing.”
Graham said they shared a cart (guess who drove?), adding Trump was a competitive but very gracious host, even giving him golf balls when the senator ran out. Graham said Trump took no do-overs.
For once — are you sitting down? — Trump himself had nothing to tweet.
But Graham did: “How bad did he beat me? I did better in the presidential race than today on the golf course! Great fun. Great host.”
By the way, how did the first-term president and the three-term senator handle conceded putts? Graham noted candidly, “He’s better at receiving than giving.”