If there's anything that can make Donald Trump go full Mussolini more than being ignored, it's being ignored by the world of golf.
So it was hardly shocking Saturday when Trump bawled during the famous British Open about not being allowed to host the British Open. Trump's whiny press-release email-- with its reach of one-zillionth of his exorcised former Twitter account -- landed as futilely as a golf ball splashing in the water.
Trump's grievance -- that the famous Scottish golf course he owns has been barred from hosting the Open because he owns it -- barely made a ripple in the sports world as fans focused on the golf tournament itself. But the email was proof positive that Trump's psychotic narcissism and penchant for shameless lies are as alive as ever.
For those who don't follow professional golf, the sport has four major championships, including the British Open. It is played each mid-July in England or Scotland in a rotation (rota) of nine courses: Five in Scotland, four in England. The famous Turnberry Golf Resort, widely viewed as one of the world's top golf courses, is one of those in Scotland.
Trump bought Turnberry in 2014 for a reported $60 million -- the sale itself the source of much journalistic curiosity -- knowing it had hosted four British Opens. In covering the sale, the Associated Press casually mentioned Turnberry was "certain" to host the tournament again.
Then Trump happened. And January 6 happened. And on January 11, the Open's governing body (known as the R & A) did not spare Trump's feelings.
"We had no plans to stage any of our championships at Turnberry and will not do so in the foreseeable future. We will not return until we are convinced that the focus will be on the championship, the players and the course itself and we do not believe that is achievable in the current circumstances."
Six days after that, the PGA of America went further in moving a scheduled tournament --the 2022 PGA Championship--from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ.
But even as Trump seemingly shrinks to nothingness in the golf world, his email from Saturday is still another reminder that he hasn't personally vaporized. So it's worth dissecting his words, if for no other purpose than to remain vigilante to the threat he still possesses.
Here's the text:
"As almost all of the great players, sportscasters, and golf aficionados know, the greatest site and course of all for The Open is Turnberry, in Scotland, It is truly a magical place, the players want to be there, and at some point in time the players will be there," Trump continued. "But this course was not chosen for The Open because they consider a wonderful person, and many-time Club Champion, named Donald J. Trump, to be too controversial—this is, of course, a false reputation caused mainly by the Fake News Media. It is a shame that the phenomenal Turnberry Golf links, the best in the World, sits empty during Open Championships, while far lesser courses are on display. Oh well, life proceeds forward! Someday The Open will be back at Turnberry,"
Perhaps the first thing that jumps out is Trump's use of the third person to describe himself, a sure sign his trolley is jumping off the tracks. It's a common technique of his, and creepy.
The reference to Trump as a "wonderful person" was truly unprecedented: There is no record of Trump or any other human being ever having used that phrase to describe him. That did merit a headline or two.
Still, one could argue that it was Trump's next reference to himself as "many time Club Champion" that really says it all about this world-class con artist. Sportswriter Rick Reilly wrote the book on this subject -- Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump -- in which he brilliantly lays out how Trump's lying and cheating at golf inform who he is.
One of Reilly's prime exhibits was Trump's repeated claim that he has won 18 golf club championships, a bogus claim the author blows up in painstaking detail, one lie at a time. Turns out the actual number is zero, Trump's recent email notwithstanding.
As Reilly noted, "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."
Reilly states this drove him to write the book about Trump's incessant lying and cheating at golf, a sport that values and expects honesty and sportsmanship more than any other.
"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 a 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."
That's why Trump's passing reference to the lie about being "club champion" is so telling. Perhaps it's not as obvious as the one that followed: that he is "too controversial" because of a "false reputation caused by the Fake News Media." Take that one in.
Were golf officials actually open to the idea of staging a major tournament at one of Trump's properties in the future, his trying to horn in on the intentional attention bestowed on the British Open probably wouldn't be the best strategy. Nor would describing the Turnberry as "the best in the world" and referring to "far lesser courses on display," meaning the famous Royal St. George's Golf Club where the Open was being held, while it was being held.
But the golf world apparently doesn't need any further insults to solidify its resolve. Major tournaments are expected to return to Trump properties no sooner than the year "Hell freezes over," if then. Even the famous Turnberry Golf Club, garishly renamed "Trump Turnberry" (although notably not in his recent email) -- won't be in the spotlight as long as his ownership infests it.
Too bad it's not that easy for the rest to world to cancel Trump.