By Noah Benjamin-Pollak
Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump by Rick Reilly
Hachette Books, 256 pp.
In Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump, acclaimed sportswriter Rick Reilly explores the lengths to which the President goes to cheat at golf, a sport with such high ideals of sportsmanship that even in the most consequential professional tournament golfers regularly report their own penalties. Reilly describes Trump’s methods, learned from the hustlers he played with in college, and employed with the help of secret service agents and his own systemic lies. (Trump maintains that he has a near-professional handicap and has won dozens of club championships—coincidentally always at his own clubs—both the type of suspicious boasts one would expect from Pyongyang rather than Washington, D.C.). More importantly, Reilly looks at the piles of ripped off golf contractors and intimidated course neighbors, the victims of another, more familiar type of Trump cheating. The book is surprisingly humorous, filled with funny, telling anecdotes of the President’s comical lack of adherence to the social rules of the game, from driving over greens (a huge no-no, as it ruins the play experience for future groups), to playing through slower moving groups (a somewhat dangerous practice, due to the flying objects). Though an easy read, Commander in Cheat is an important one, since as Reilly writes, "Golf is like bicycle shorts. It reveals a lot about a man."