Trump claims to have won a golf club championship that he didn’t participate in

Golf magazine recently published this piece about President Donald Trump claiming to have won the 2018 club championship at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, which is Trump’s 20th claimed golf club championship at his various golf courses, and Trump’s seventh claimed club championship at Trump International in West Palm Beach. As it turns out, Trump actually didn’t play in that year’s club championship at Trump International in West Palm Beach:

Originally, a man named Ted Virtue, the 58-year-old CEO of a New York investment firm called MidOcean Partners, had the 2018 club championship title all to himself.

Virtue, a member of Winged Foot and Westchester Country Club in New York and Lost Tree and Trump International in South Florida, won a series of matches en route to his title. He played football and basketball at Middlebury College in Vermont in the early 1980s and his golf is more athletic than poetic. His index is listed as 3.3 and his 20 most recent scores, all from 2018 and this year, range from 73 to 83. Trump has posted only two scores since 2016.

After Virtue won the championship, Trump ran into him at the club, according to multiple sources who recounted the story. Having some fun with him, Trump said something like, “The only reason you won is because I couldn’t play.” The president cited the demands of his job, although he was able to make 20 visits to the club in 2018, according to Trump then proposed a nine-hole challenge match to Virtue, winner-takes-the-title.


That last sentence about Trump proposing a nine-hole challenge match against Virtue is how Trump “won” the club championship: he claimed to defeat Virtue in the match for the club title, although, as is commonplace in amateur golf competitions that are not high-profile, no rules official and no television cameras were on hand for the match. In other words, Trump pulled off the golf equivalent of the Staley Swindle, except that Trump didn’t play in the actual golf club championship that preceded the swindle (whereas the Chicago Staleys, now the Chicago Bears, did play in the 1921 NFL regular season that preceded the actual Staley Swindle).