Commander in Cheat

How Golf Explains Trump


By Rick Reilly

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“Reilly pokes more holes in Trump’s claims than there are sand traps on all of his courses combined. It is by turns amusing and alarming.”— The New Yorker

“Golf is the spine of this shocking, wildly humorous book, but humanity is its flesh and spirit.” — Chicago Sun-Times

“Every one of Trump’s most disgusting qualities surfaces in golf.” — The Ringer

An outrageous indictment of Donald Trump’s appalling behavior when it comes to golf — on and off the green — and what it reveals about his character.

Donald Trump loves golf. He loves to play it, buy it, build it, and operate it. He owns 14 courses around the world and runs another five, all of which he insists are the best on the planet. He also claims he’s a 3 handicap, almost never loses, and has won an astonishing 18 club championships.

How much of all that is true? Almost none of it, acclaimed sportswriter Rick Reilly reveals in this unsparing look at Trump in the world of golf.

Based on Reilly’s own experiences with Trump as well as interviews with over 100 golf pros, amateurs, developers, and caddies, Commander in Cheat is a startling and at times hilarious indictment of Trump and his golf game. You’ll learn how Trump cheats (sometimes with the help of his caddies and Secret Service agents), lies about his scores (the “Trump Bump”), tells whoppers about the rank of his courses and their worth (declaring that every one of them is worth $50 million), and tramples the etiquette of the game (driving on greens doesn’t help). Trump doesn’t brag so much, though, about the golf contractors he stiffs, the course neighbors he intimidates, or the way his golf decisions wind up infecting his political ones.

For Trump, it’s always about winning. To do it, he uses the tricks he picked up from the hustlers at the public course where he learned the game as a college kid, and then polished as one of the most bombastic businessmen of our time. As Reilly writes, “Golf is like bicycle shorts. It reveals a lot about a man.” Commander in Cheat “paints a side-splitting portrait of a congenital cheater” (Esquire), revealing all kinds of unsightly truths Trump has been hiding.




To find a man’s true character, play golf with him.


IN THE 30 YEARS I’ve known Donald Trump, I never believed anything he said, but the wink-wink of it was that I never thought he believed any of it either. He was like your crazy uncle at Thanksgiving who sits in the living room telling the kids whoppers about punching Sinatra while the parents all roll their eyes in the kitchen. He was a fun, full-of-it fabulist.

One time, for instance, I was in his office in Trump Tower. He pulled a yellow laminated card out of his wallet and slapped it down on his massive desk like a fourth ace.

“Look at that!” he said. “Only nine people in the world have that!”

The card read: Bearer Eats Free at Any McDonald’s Worldwide.

“It’s only me, Mother Teresa, and Michael Jordan!” he crowed.

I pictured Mother Teresa, at that very moment, pulling into the drive-thru at the Calcutta McDonald’s, rolling down the window, leaning her habit out, and saying, “I need 10,000 double cheeseburgers, please.”

I liked Trump the way I liked Batman. He was what eight-year-old me thought a gazillionaire should be like—his name in 10-foot-high letters on skyscrapers and on giant jets, hot and cold running blondes hanging on each arm, $1,000 bills sticking out of his socks.

So I knew the whole “running for president” thing had to have an angle. There’s always an angle. The trick was figuring out what it was.

The first time I met Donald Trump, way back when, I was the back-page columnist at Sports Illustrated. I was playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am when he came at me with a bible-salesman grin and a short-fingered hand to shake. His wife, Marla Maples, was smiling at me, too.

Uh-oh, I thought. What’s this?

“You’re my favorite writer!” Trump bellowed. “I love your stuff. Tell him, Marla!”

“He does!” she said. “Look!” And she pulled out of her purse a column I’d written. Okay, there was the set-up. What was the hook?

“So,” he said, “when are you going to write about ME?”

Ahh, there it was.

No problem. Trump was the most accessible, bombastic, and quotable businessman in the world. Why would I turn that down? So when I set out to write my golf book Who’s Your Caddy?—in which I would caddy for 12 golf legends, celebrities, and oddballs—I asked if he wanted to be a chapter. “Absolutely!” he said.

When the day came, he didn’t have anybody to play with, so he announced that I wouldn’t be caddying for him, I’d be playing with him. Okay, you take what you can get. We played his Trump National Golf Club Westchester in Briarcliff Manor, New York, and it was like spending the day in a hyperbole hurricane.

Trump didn’t just lie nonstop about himself that day. He lied nonstop about ME. He’d go up to some member and say, “This is Rick. He’s the president of Sports Illustrated.” The guy would reach out to shake my hesitant hand, but by then Trump had dragged me forward to the next member. Or secretary. Or chef. “This is Rick. He publishes Sports Illustrated.” Before I could object, he’d go, “And this is Chef. He was voted Best Hamburger Chef in the world!” And the poor chef would look at me and shake his head with a helpless “no,” same as me.

When we were alone, I finally said, “Donald, why are you lying about me?”

“Sounds better,” he said.

Sounding better is Trump’s m.o. It colors everything he says and does. The truth doesn’t break an egg with Trump. It’s all about how it sounds, how it looks, and the fact checkers can go run a 100-yard dash in a 50-yard gym.

A friend of mine had dinner with Trump and his wife, Melania, in 2015, when this whole presidential thing was starting to simmer. The husbands and wives had veered off into separate conversations. The wife said, “You have a lovely accent, Melania. Where are you from?”

“Slovenia,” she said.

Trump, in mid-sentence, turned to her and interjected: “Say Austria. Sounds better.”

But when I read The Big Lie, it nearly made me spit out my Cheerios. It was a tweet he’d originally posted in 2013, but I hadn’t read it until his campaign began. Trump was embroiled in one of his hundreds of celebrity feuds, this one with somebody in his weight class—Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire sports fan Mark Cuban. Cuban had dissed him on some forgettable TV show years before. “I think I said, ‘I can write a bigger check than Trump right now and not even know it was missing,’” Cuban remembers.

Trump seethed about it. Trump can dish out the insults by the steam shovel but he can’t take a teaspoonful back. His rule is: “When I’m attacked, I fight back 10 times harder.” He vowed lifetime revenge on Cuban that day.

That’s when he challenged Cuban.

Golf match? I’ve won 18 Club Championships including this weekend. @mcuban swings like a little girl with no power or talent. Mark’s a loser

—Donald J. Trump, Twitter, March 19, 2013

Eighteen championships? That’s like an NFL quarterback telling you he’s won 18 Super Bowls. It’s preposterous. It’s a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day float of a lie. Besides, Trump had already given away his little secret of how he does it that day at Westchester. “Whenever I open a new golf course,” he told me, “I play the official opening round and then I just call that the first club championship. There you go! I’m the first club champion!… That’s off the record, of course.”

You gotta admit: It’s sleazy, it’s morally bankrupt, but it’s pretty clever.

I did keep it off the record, for years. But then he kept bludgeoning people over the head with it.

“You know, I’ve won 18 club championships,” he said half a dozen times during campaign stops. “I’m a winner.” As though the trunk of his Rolls-Royce is so full of golf trophies that he can’t even get it shut.

In an interview with the Washington Post, he said, humbly, “My life has been about victories. I’ve won a lot. I win a lot. I win—when I do something, I win. And even in sports, I always won. I was always a good athlete. And I always won. In golf, I’ve won many club championships. Many, many club championships. And I have people that can play golf great, but they can’t win under pressure. So, I’ve always won.”

After a big primary win, he bragged at the podium, “I know how to win. I’ve won… these people will tell you. Have I won many club championships? Does Trump know how to close?”

At another campaign stump: “Winning is winning. It’s not easy to win club championships, believe me. And I’m not talking about with strokes. I’m talking with no strokes.”

Winning 18 club championships is a lie that’s so over-the-top Crazytown it loses all credibility among golfers the second it’s out of his mouth. To double-check, I called the only guy who could come close: George “Buddy” Marucci, of Philadelphia. Like Trump, Marucci belongs to more clubs than you can fit in your bag. Like Trump, he’s in the right age bracket, at six years younger than Trump. Like Trump, he’s got all the money he needs to play as many club championships as he can fly to. Unlike Trump, he’s as fine a golfing businessman as you can find. Marucci took 19-year-old Tiger Woods—24 years his junior—to the last hole of the 1995 U.S. Amateur final before finally losing.

So, Buddy Marucci, do YOU have 18 club championships?

“Ha!” he laughed. “No way. I have a few, but nowhere near that many. It’s hard to win a club championship. I might have eight. Tops.”

This is a guy who’s been breaking par for the past 45 years. He belongs to nearly every creamy course in the world—Winged Foot, Seminole, Pine Valley, Cypress Point. If it’s on a top 10 in the world list, Marucci probably has a locker there.

“Eighteen?” he said. “I don’t see how anybody could do that.” When I explained to him how Trump did it, he said, “You know, I’m not sure even doing THAT I could get to 18.”

When Trump told Gary Player he’d won 18 championships, Player scoffed. “I told him that if anyone beats him, he kicks them out. So, he had to win.”

Was Trump’s name on the wall of any clubs he didn’t own? Nope. Was it on the walls at Trump Washington, D.C., in Virginia, a course that was already up and running when he bought it? Nope. Or Trump Jupiter, which was a Ritz Carlton course when he bought it? Nope. Was it on the wall at any of his own courses he’d opened? Oh, yes.

Trump International in West Palm Beach, Florida, has a plaque on the wall that lists all the men who’ve won the men’s club championship. Trump appears three times: 1999, 2001, and 2009. But hold on. The course wasn’t even open in 1999. Turns out, then White House spokesperson Hope Hicks admitted to the Washington Post, Trump played in a “soft opening” round on November 1 of that year with “a group of the early members” and declared it the club championship.


On March 17, 2013, Trump tweeted he’d won the club championship again at Trump International. This is the one he was gloating to Cuban about.

Just won The Club Championship at Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach-lots of very good golfers-never easy to win a C.C.

But the plaque for that year lists the winner as “Tom Roush.” The catch? It wasn’t really the club championship at all. Trump won the “Super Seniors Club Championship,” which at most clubs is reserved for players 60 and older. Something to be proud of, sure, but not within a Super Walmart of beating the best young players in the club. The difference between “Club Champion” and “Super Senior Club Champion” is the difference between Vanna White and Betty White.

“I remember Melania used to ask us, ‘What is this ‘Super Seniors’?’” recalls former Trump Westchester exec Ian Gillule. “And Mr. Trump would say, ‘Oh, Super Seniors is better than just a regular club championship, honey.’ He was saying it tongue in cheek but she didn’t know the difference.”

I called golf writer Michael Bamberger of He once did a story for Sports Illustrated on playing every Trump course with Trump. Had he heard about these 18 club championships? He had.

Bamberger: “We were at Trump Westchester and Trump says, ‘Michael, I just won the club championship here.’ And I’m thinking, ‘Wow, that’s a little hard to believe, since he’s about a 9 or 10 [handicap] and you don’t get any strokes in the club championship.’ So I said, ‘Who’d you beat?’ And he said, ‘This guy!’” Trump was pointing to his longtime cement contractor, Lou Rinaldi, who’s a zero handicap and a terrific player. Bamberger looked at Rinaldi, who shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “I’m gonna argue with my boss?”

Later, Bamberger found out that, too, was the senior club championship. “Then I found out even later,” Bamberger says, “that it wasn’t that year at all. It was a different year.”

At Trump Bedminster in New Jersey, Trump once won a senior club championship from 87 miles away. He’d declared that the club should start having senior club championships for those 50 and up, but he forgot that one of the best players at the club had just turned 50. Having zero chance at beating the guy, he went up to his Trump Philadelphia course on the day of the tournament and played with a friend there. Afterward, according to a source inside the Bedminster club, he called the Bedminster pro shop and announced he’d shot 73 and should be declared the winner. The pro, wanting to stay employed, agreed. His name went up on the plaque. “But then,” says the source, “somebody talked to the caddy up in Philly and asked him what Trump shot that day. The caddy goes, ‘Maybe 82. And that might be generous.’ He pulls that kind of sh*t all the time around here.”

More than one source described another time when Trump happened to walk into the Bedminster clubhouse just as a worker was putting up the name of the newly crowned senior club championship winner on a wooden plaque. Trump had been out of town and hadn’t played in the tournament, but when he saw the player’s name, he stopped the employee. “Hey, I beat that guy all the time. Put my name up there instead.” The worker was flummoxed.

“Really, sir?”

“Yeah, yeah. I beat that guy constantly. I would’ve beaten him. Put my name up.”

Of the 18 club championship “wins” that Trump listed for Golf Digest, 12 are actually senior or super senior club championships. To repeat: senior and super senior club championships are not men’s club championships. They’re like bowling with bumpers. Besides, as I say, most of those smell like three-day-old halibut. So that leaves six real club championships. One of the six he lists was Trump Westchester 2001, when the club wasn’t officially open yet. That leaves five. The next was Westchester 2002, when the club was only nine holes. If it really happened, you can’t count that. That leaves four, one of them being Westchester in 2004. Could he have actually won that?

“Well, no, I know for a fact that’s not true,” Gillule says. “He never won any in the eight years I worked there. I mean, I loved working for Mr. Trump, but you know, some people take a certain license with the truth.”

We do know that Trump played in the 2007 Westchester Men’s Club Championship and was knocked out in the first round by a 15-year-old named Adam Levin. Trump was four-up with five holes to play, helped greatly by the 60-year-old calling two ticky-tack rule violations on the kid, one for accidentally touching the grass inside a hazard and one for fixing a small ball mark off the green, both loss-of-hole penalties.

That’s when, according to Levin, Trump said to the small gallery, “The kid put up a good fight, didn’t he?” A small bonfire lit under Levin, who wound up winning hole after hole, tying Trump up through 18 and then winning on the second playoff hole.

“He didn’t even say ‘Congratulations’ or ‘Good match,’” remembers Levin, now a data analyst. “He didn’t look me in the eye. He just shook my hand and walked off. He’d kind of been a dick the whole day. We were together for five or six hours, so there was plenty of time for conversation with me or my parents, but all he ever said was, ‘Isn’t this course fantastic?’ and ‘Aren’t these facilities the best?’ He’s a total asshole with no character.”

That leaves three possible club championship wins, all at one course—Trump International in West Palm Beach. But we already know the 1999 win there is a lie, since the course wasn’t open. That leaves two. Of those two—2001 and 2009—I have never seen a signed scorecard or spoken to any objective person who remembers him winning or not winning.

Final score on the “18 club championships”: Lies 16, Incompletes 2, Confirms 0. By this time, Trump’s nose has grown so long he could putt with it.

The whole thing bugged me so much I started to itch. I wasn’t offended as a voter. I was offended as a golfer. You can’t get away with that. You want to make political promises you can’t keep? Great, knock yourself out. You want to invent tales of your cutthroat savvy in business deals? Live it up. But golf means something to me. I’ve played it my whole life. It’s kept me sane and happy and found me more friends than I can count.

One of the things I love the most about golf is that you’re your own referee. You call fouls on yourself. Integrity is built into the fabric of the game. Honesty is more precious in golf than the little white dimples. As Ben Crenshaw likes to say, “Golf is a game with a conscience.”

For golfers, the stain of cheating is so much graver than winning or losing that we live in mortal fear of being called a cheater. Tom Watson accused Gary Player of illegally moving a leaf away from his ball at the Skins Game in 1983 and they’ve hardly spoken since. One leaf. Vijay Singh could win 10 majors and never lose his label as a cheater, based on a tiny incident that may or may not have happened once years ago in Indonesia.

So here was Trump caterwauling about 18 golf championships that were faker than Cheez Whiz, and it started to make me think. How much of what Trump says about his golf brilliance does the country believe? During the campaign, when Trump stood up in front of 30,000 red hats and bloviated, “When it comes to golf, very few people can beat me,” did people buy that? Because 50 guys at every course in America can beat him.

When Trump turned his back on Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, did anybody know that he’d abandoned his “fabulous” golf project there the year before, a bankruptcy that left the tiny territory with a $32 million debt?

When Trump held endless 18-hole meetings at his Florida courses with this prime minister and that emperor, were these leaders returning home to laugh at OUR president the way they laughed at him at the United Nations? Would they think all Americans cheat at golf?

It got me thinking…

Somebody should point out that the way Trump does golf is sort of the way he does a presidency, which is to operate as though the rules are for other people.

Somebody should explain that facts and truth are to Trump what golf scores and crowd sizes are—“feelings”—malleable and negotiable, flitting this way and that like an arm-waving inflatable car-lot balloon man.

Somebody should write that the way Trump cheats at golf, lies about his courses, and stiffs his golf contractors isn’t that far from how he cheats on his wives, lies about his misdeeds, and stiffs the world on agreements America has already made on everything from Iran to climate change.

“Golf is like bicycle shorts,” I once wrote. “It reveals a lot about a man.”

You could write a book about what Trump’s golf reveals about him.

Here it is.



Golf is fatal.


FOR PRESIDENTS, THE WHITE House is a kind of prison with butlers. You can’t go anywhere without a squadron of Secret Service people and a week of planning. You sleep above your office, where a desk full of the world’s biggest problems silently screams for you. That’s why golf is perfect for presidents. With no skyscraper windows, no streets for people to line up on, no intersections, no passing cars, presidents can stay relatively safe.

Where they play, how they play, how often and why they play can sometimes tell you more about a president than a room full of historians.

Golf didn’t become trendy in America until the turn of the 20th century, and one of the first to get bit was William Howard Taft, a man who topped 300 pounds. He loved the game so much that he once blew off the president of Chile, who was waiting for him back in the White House, to keep his tee time.

Woodrow Wilson was such a worrier that his doctor ordered him to play golf to relieve his indigestion, even though Wilson couldn’t play dead in a cowboy movie. He rarely broke 110. He’d putt hunched over 90 degrees, like a man talking to a pet mouse, with a putter that couldn’t have been much taller than a toilet plunger. Wilson played only with his wife and his doctor, fearing that anybody else would want to talk about the League of Nations or somesuch. He became hopelessly addicted to the game. He even painted his golf balls black so he could play in the snow. Wilson makes Trump look like a newbie. Presidential golf historian Don Van Natta estimates Wilson might have played as many as 1,600 times during his eight years, about every other day, always first thing in the morning. He played faster than the morning train and was usually back at his desk by 9 am.

The swashbuckling Warren Harding was just the opposite. Golf to him was a kind of party with spikes. Why hurry? He loved all celebrities, but especially golf stars. He hosted the legendary night owl Walter Hagen often. One day, Hagen presented Harding with one of his favorite drivers.

“What can I do for you in return?” Harding asked, tickled.

The habitually late Hagen said it sure would be convenient to have a Secret Service badge to get him out of speeding tickets. He got it.

Harding was the first in a long line of presidents who fudged the rules. He was great fun on the golf course, long on laughs, always in plus fours and a bow tie. He wasn’t above having a few belts between green and tee, which, coupled with his big off-balance lash, kept him from scoring well. Still, he was devoted to it. He was in San Francisco, on a vacation that included boat loads of golf, when he suddenly shuddered and died, probably of congestive heart failure. To commemorate him, San Francisco is now home to a terrific public golf course, Harding Park.

Calvin Coolidge wasn’t good or fun or loose with golf at all and, in fact, was a chop’s chop, which is to say he was so bad he couldn’t even shoot his weight. When he left the White House for good, he left his clubs there.

Our most talented golfing president, by far, was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A big hitter with a fine iron game and a diamond cutter’s touch around the greens, he won many golf medals as a teen and, at 18, won the men’s club championship (no, really) at Canada’s Campobello Golf Club. But polio hit him at age 39, 12 years before he became president, and he never played again. Still, his work projects gave us dozens of terrific public tracks, including Bethpage in New York, site of the 2019 PGA Championship.

Harry Truman played piano, not golf, but his successor, Dwight Eisenhower loved it like dogs love bones. He could hardly stand to be away from his clubs. In fact, he’d stroll the halls of the White House with an iron, taking half-swings while he pondered what to do about the postwar world. He and his idol—a permanently tan heartthrob named Arnold Palmer—fueled the 1960s golf boom in this country that didn’t slow down until the Great Recession of 2007.

Ike loved golf but it didn’t love him. His Achilles’ heel was putting. He’d approach the ball as if it were a snake, freeze like a statue over it, then jab at it and jump back fast. He seemed to have 11 kinds of yips. To practice, he built a putting green outside the Oval Office. Sometimes, upon re-entering the office, he’d forget to take off his spikes. I once crouched down there and felt the holes he left in the wooden floor.

Were it not for his bad back, President Kennedy could’ve been terrific. He played on the Harvard freshman golf team but hurt his back playing football and didn’t go out the next year. His swing was elegant and upright, with a perfectly balanced finish, his slim right shoulder facing perfectly toward the target, his hatless hair tossed back with the wind, a kind of Gatsby in cashmere. Unlike Trump, JFK didn’t want to talk about his golf, didn’t want cameras around while he played it, and didn’t want to announce what he shot. After his election but before his inauguration, Kennedy rattled his tee shot in and out of the cup on the 16th at Cypress Point, the most famous par 3 in the world. Kennedy breathed a sigh of relief. “You’re yelling for the damn ball to go in,” he said to his playing partners, “and I’m seeing a promising political career coming to an end!”

LBJ played miserably and mostly as a way to cajole congressmen to vote for this bill or that. They say he wrangled the votes he needed for his landmark Civil Rights Act on the golf course. He was fond of swear words and mulligans, taking sometimes five, six, and seven of each in a single nine holes, always reminding his opponents, “It’s not nice to beat the president.” After he was out of the office, he found out how true that was.

Nixon played, but never looked natural at it, always smiling too big, wearing his pants too high. His friends said he did it just to suck up to Ike as his vice president. Nixon was about an 18 handicap, but after resigning over Watergate, golf became a refuge and he got down to 12. So, you know, Watergate wasn’t all bad.

Nixon’s resignation, coupled with the resignation of his veep Spiro Agnew, shoehorned into the Oval Office the only bonafide college sports star we’ve ever had, former Michigan lineman Gerald Ford. A natural athlete, President Ford loved golf, but it didn’t love him. Still, he’d play as much as he could. He’d even play in the PGA Tour’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am, a nightmare for the Secret Service, not to mention the galleries. Ford hit far more people with golf balls than ever voted for him for president (that number is zero), mostly because his driver was long and wrong. But he did make a hole in one once, at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, playing with Crenshaw in the Pro-Am. “The place went crazy,” Crenshaw remembers. “He was beside himself. He turned to me said, ‘I can’t believe I just did that!’”

Golf went dark for a while after Ford. Jimmy Carter fished. Reagan could take golf or leave it, preferring horses. He was about a 13. You can still see his locker at Los Angeles Country Club.


  • "Golf is the spine of this shocking, wildly humorous book, but humanity is its flesh and spirit....It's all hilarious in Reilly's gifted hands."—Chicago Sun-Times
  • "The American sportswriting great has written my favorite sports book of 2019...By turns hilarious and shocking. In a game that prides itself on gentlemanly conduct, Trump is exposed by numerous witnesses (most of whom are surprisingly happy to go on the record, a tribute to Reilly's reporting skills) as a first-class cheat....I thought my opinion of the 45th president could not get any lower. I was wrong."—The Times (London), Sports Book of the Year
  • "Relying on testimony from playing partners, caddies, and former Trump employees, Reilly pokes more holes in Trump's claims than there are sand traps on all of his courses combined. It is by turns amusing and alarming....P.G. Wodehouse would have approved."—The New Yorker
  • "Commander in Cheat is an incredibly creative book, regardless what you think of President Trump, regardless of where you are on the political spectrum. It takes us places behind the press conferences and the staged interviews....It take us into Trump's past, places where there were no cameras, no speech writers, no handlers, no aides. It is just Donald Trump with his appetites, Donald Trump with his excesses, Donald Trump with his flaws. Donald Trump with both his love for golf, and his propensity to play games with the truth."—The Providence Journal
  • "Building on his firsthand experience by interviewing scores of golf pros, caddies, and opponents, Reilly paints a side-splitting portrait of a congenital cheater."—Esquire, Most Anticipated Books of the Year
  • "Assails Trump's 'ethics deficit.'"
    Associated Press
  • "Reilly uses golf to reveal larger truths. Or, in this case, lies."
    The Arizona Republic
  • "Diamonds among the divots - [one of] the best golf books ever written....It was not exactly a secret that Trump plays fast and loose with the rules, but Reilly's catalogue of his moral failures takes the breath away....Hilarious and rather alarming stuff."—The Times (UK)
  • "Great writing...If you really don't like Trump, this is your perfect book."—Chris Matthews, MSNBC's Hardball
  • "Sportswriting can be a lens into any part of our culture, and [Commander in Cheat] proves my point... a clever way to make sense of White House chaos."—The Week,Books to Read in 2019
  • "There's a new tell-all book about the president...The specific anecdotes are where Commander in Cheat really takes off."—Stephen Colbert, TheLate Show
  • "Commander in Cheat is one of the most surprising pieces of muckraking of the Trump era....Reilly's right to say Trump sees a golf course like he does the Oval Office...Every one of Trump's most disgusting qualities surfaces in golf."—The Ringer
  • "The latest anti-Trump exposé isn't about Russia collusion, his taxes or his tweets. It's about his favorite pastime....Delve[s] into allegations the president isn't always honest out on the course."—Fox News
  • "An eye-watering account of the president's abuse of the rules of golf....[an] unrelenting hatchet job."
    The Times (London)
  • "Stunning -- and damning."—Golf Digest
  • "Renowned sports columnist Reilly...has known the president for 30 years...If Reilly was once a Trump favorite, he no longer will be...[An] amusing, entertaining assessment of a congenital liar."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "A hilarious and well-researched indictment of President Trump and his golf game....Mr. Reilly, probably the most acclaimed sports writer of his generation, details and highlights in incredulous and often times comical fashion...'The Donald,' both before and after he became the nation's 45th president."—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • "Brilliant...Very, very funny when it comes to the details of what Donald Trump does....[Commander in Cheat is] the great Father's Day Book."—Laurence O'Donnell, MSNBC's The Last Word
  • "[Commander in Cheat] is filled with vivid allegations about Trump's cheating -- how he once threw broadcaster Mike Tirico's ball off the green during a round, how he manipulates the value of his courses to get tax breaks, how he exaggerates his golf scores."—The Washington Post
  • "Eye-popping."—Los Angeles Times
  • "A must-read for Democrats and Republicans alike."
  • "This richly researched expose hilariously pulled down The Donald's golf pants and would have humiliated a normal human. Chapter after chapter reveals the myriad ways Trump egregiously cheats at every conceivable aspect of golf."
    The Colorado Sun
  • "I laughed uncontrollably."—Ottawa Citizen
  • “[A] classic work of nonfiction….The book’s tales of cheating are incredible… but those of his grit are even more staggering.”—The 42
  • “The gifted writer Rick Reilly… did us a great favor by writing a book about how Trump cheats at golf….[Reilly] points out how big an embarrassment Trump is to a sport that values honesty and integrity more than any other.”—Northern Kentucky Tribune
  • “[Reilly uses] a scalpel rather than an axe to carve Trump up.… All of the sins are nicely researched and chronicled…very well done.”—
  • “Donald Trump's history as an alleged cheater at golf is brilliantly told in Reilly's Commander in Cheat.”—Irish Examiner

On Sale
Apr 7, 2020
Page Count
272 pages
Hachette Books

Rick Reilly

About the Author

A screenwriter and New York Times bestselling author, Rick Reilly wrote for Sports Illustrated and appeared on and wrote for ESPN. In addition to being voted the National Sportswriter of the Year eleven times, he has also been recognized with the Damon Runyon Award for Outstanding Contributions to Journalism. USA Today called him, "the closest thing sports writing ever had to a rock star."

Learn more about this author