That President Donald Trump—who spends an inordinate amount of time at his golf courses, sure, but is also a generally unathletic 71-year-old, despite what he’d like you to believe—could shoot a 73 under any conditions is rather suspect. But Golf magazine’s Michael Bamberger called up Graham to verify, and the senator is sticking to his claim. (Though, he concedes, maybe it was actually a 74: Trump was either one over or two over on the back nine, he can’t recall.)

The two golfed at Trump National Golf Club Washington, in the D.C. suburbs. Throughout the piece, Bamberger notes several valid reasons to treat the claim with skepticism:

Graham said they played from the blue tees and that it measured “about 6,800 yards.” That would make the course roughly the same length as the one on which Bernhard Langer won the Senior PGA in late May, an event in which over four rounds nearly half of the field’s recorded scores were 74 or higher.

A score of 84 would seem plausible. Trump is a good golfer. But a 73, from a 71-year-old who plays often for a president but infrequently for a low-handicap golfer? Unlikely, to say the least. As a rough comparison, the Hall of Fame golfer Hale Irwin, who turned 72 in June, has a scoring average of just over 73 in the seven Champions tour events he has played this year, with an average drive of just under 250 yards. Graham said Trump’s average drive was around 250 yards.


Here’s some of what Graham had to offer:

“What impressed me about the president is that he has a nice, compact swing, and he can get it up-and-down from jail. He’s very accurate with his drives and hits his irons consistently. The course was playing long. His go-to tee shot is a down-the-middle line drive with a little draw. … On a 430-yard par-4, he hit a really good drive, a three-wood, or a hybrid, and made a par. He hit the ball on the screws almost every time. He sets up behind the ball. He has an athletic swing. He goes down and gets it.”


Okay. Got it. The story gets truly sad, however, in its last few lines:

At the end of the round, he owed the president $30, but had only $5 with him, which the president accepted.

The senator was asked if Trump asked for Graham to announce the score to the world. He did not, Graham said.

“I did it,” Graham said. “I did it on my own.”

Congratulations to Lindsey Graham for unlocking a new level of fawning sycophancy. And for saving $25.