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Sorry, Internet, but Donald Trump might not be cheating at golf in this video

October 30, 2017

Justin Sullivan

Any video footage of Donald Trump on the golf course is ripe for interpretation, and we won't belabor the reasons. Let's just say with the president's approval ratings hovering at historic lows, it's doubtful he's going to win over his detractors by showcasing a deft touch around the greens. And when he seems to be scooping up a missed putt as it's still rolling, which seems to be in defiance of the Rules of Golf?

Here's the clip in question of Trump playing golf over the weekend in Virginia, as captured by NBC's Kelly O'Donnell. It shows Trump missing a putt, then trotting after his ball to pick it up before it stops.

Could this be the most overt display of golf cheating ever captured of a sitting president? At the risk of disappointing hot takers and conspiracy theorists everywhere, probably not.

Although it's possible that Trump's warped version of golf scorekeeping allows him to take a free run at every putt with universal assurance that the next one is good -- it's his golf course, dammit! -- the more likely scenario is less dramatic. Instead, it's very possible that Trump was in a match where he needed to make the first putt for him to factor into the hole at all. And when he missed, as is customary, he just decided to get out of the way by picking up his ball.


Strangely, as someone who's been known to drive his cart on the green, Trump is not someone we're used to commending for impeccable on-course. But if his intentions here were to move things along, he might have actually been spot on.