Trump declared winner of golf tournament at his club – despite missing first day

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Golf-loving former US president Donald Trump has claimed another victory in a competitive tournament at one of his clubs in Florida – despite missing the first day of the weekend-long event.

He announced his win in the Senior Club Championship at Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida on his social media platform Truth Social.

Mr Trump declared that it was “a great honour” to have won the tournament “[at] one of the best courses in the country”. “Competed against many fine golfers and was hitting the ball long and straight. The reason that I announce this on fabulous TRUTH is that, in a very real way, it serves as a physical exam, only MUCH tougher.”

That appeared to be a reference to the controversies surrounding Mr Trump’s annual physicals during his time in office, including one in 2019 that confirmed he was officially obese.

The former president continued: “You need strength and stamina to WIN, & I have strength & stamina – most others don’t. You also need strength & stamina to GOVERN!”

Mr Trump’s announcement, however, may have come as a surprise to those following his movements this weekend, since a video appeared online of him delivering a eulogy at the funeral of the North Carolina vlogger Diamond on Saturday.

Diamond, real name Ineitha Lynnette Hardaway, was one half of the conservative vlogging and social media personality duo Diamond and Silk (real name Herneitha Rochelle Hardaway, Ineitha Lynnette’s sister). Her funeral on Saturday coincided with the first day of the Senior Club Championship taking place more than 700 miles away.

Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung, quoted by the Daily Beast, confirmed the former president was present at the funeral on Saturday. “In addition to being an excellent golfer, President Trump is an even better human being. He was honoured to be in North Carolina on Saturday to celebrate the life of Diamond, a remarkable individual whose legacy will continue to live on,” Mr Cheung said.

Club sources quoted by the Daily Mail described competitors’ surprise when they arrived on Sunday for the second day of the tournament to find Mr Trump’s name at the top of the leaderboard – five points clear of Saturday’s best performer.

The Mail reported that Mr Trump told organisers he had played a strong round at the course on Thursday and decided that would count as his first day’s score.

It is not the first time there have been reports of Mr Trump exaggerating his accomplishments on the golf course. In his book “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump”, author Rick Reilly writes that: “To say ‘Donald Trump cheats’ is like saying ‘Michael Phelps swims’.”

Reilly writes in the 2019 book that Mr Trump “cheats at the highest level. He cheats when people are watching and he cheats when they aren’t. He cheats whether you like it or not. He cheats because that’s how he plays golf … if you’re playing golf with him, he’s going to cheat.”

The blurb of the book says that it is based on Reilly’s own experiences with the former president “as well as interviews with over 100 golf pros, amateurs, developers, and caddies”.

In September last year, Mr Trump shared a link to a DC Enquirer article about a Golf Digest ranking, titled “Donald Trump Is Ranked Number 1 Presidential Golfer in History by a Landslide”.

The golfing magazine put the single-term president top of a list of golf-playing US presidents that includes his successor Joe Biden, who peaked at a handicap of 6.7 compared to Mr Trump’s 2.8.

Other golfers and sports writers immediately mocked the Golf Digest ranking for being “phonier than Velveeta [cheese] on spam,” as sports writer Reilly put it.

“Biden was once a 6 but not for 20 years. Obama is about a 9 now. Taft was horrible and more like a 30. Why lie Golf Digest,” Riley argued.

The magazine was trolled later for the rankings. “You’ve got a rogue decimal point in Orange Man’s handicap,” wrote golfer Tony Johnstone.

Mr Trump was also criticised by the families of 9/11 victims for hosting a Saudi-funded golf tournament 50 miles from Ground Zero. The 9/11 Justice group accused Mr Trump of taking hundreds of millions of dollars from what it called an “evil regime” for hosting the breakaway LIV Golf event at his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.