A plaque at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., lists the nine men who have won the club’s championship. One of the names will be familiar: “Donald J. Trump” was the champion in 1999, 2001 and 2009.
Those are apparently 3 of the 18 club championships Trump claims to have won over the years. He has cited these victories as proof that he’s a winner in all facets of life. “Even in golf, I’ve won many golf club championships,” he told Time magazine last year. “I don’t know if you guys play golf. But to win a club championship is hard, literally hard. And you have to beat scratch players. You got a lot of good players.”
But not all of those 18 championships were created equal, it seems.
First off, Trump is listed as the 1999 club champion, but the course didn't have its official grand opening until Jan. 8, 2000, according to a contemporaneous Palm Beach Post report. The course did have what the Post called a “soft opening” on Nov. 1, 1999.
That suggests there weren’t a whole lot of golfers to compete with. Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed to The Washington Post that the club held a club championship in 1999 during the soft opening phase “with a group of a few of the early members.” It’s not clear exactly how many.
The second question the plaque leaves us with is: What about 2013? Trump tweeted with pride back in March 2013 about his victory in that year’s club championship.
But Trump’s name is not listed on the plaque as the 2013 champion. In its place is “Tom Roush,” who would later go on to win again in 2015 and 2016.
The reason: Trump conveniently left out of a pretty important modifier. He didn’t win the same club championship he had won previously, you see. Instead, Hicks told us, he won the senior club championship.
“I’ve played a lot, and I’ve played well,” Trump told The Washington Post's Ben Terris last year. “There’s very few people that can beat me in golf.”
And an exhaustive investigation into Trump’s game revealed that he was indeed a very good golfer, reported Terris — “just maybe not as good as he says he is.”