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Hachette Books

From throwing his opponent's balls into bunkers to exaggerating his 2.8-stroke handicap, Donald Trump's alleged penchant for cheating on the golf course is the subject of retired sportswriter Rick Reilly's new book, "Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump."

Why it matters: "It's a way to look at Trump in an apolitical way," Reilly told me by phone yesterday. "It's not about his presidency, but rather a way to look at his soul."

  • "Arnold Palmer always used to say, 'I'll never do a business deal until I play golf with a guy because you can't hide who you are out there on the course," Reilly added.

Details: One of the book's stories focuses on the time Trump played golf with the old ESPN "Monday Night Football" crew. It's him and Jon Gruden versus Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski.

  • At one point, Tirico hit "the 3-wood of his life" toward the green only to find his ball in a sand trap 50 feet left of the pin. Later on, Trump's caddy told Tirico that his ball had been 10 feet from the hole. "Trump threw it into the bunker. I watched him do it," said the caddy.
  • At Winged Foot Golf Club in New York, the only non-Trump property where the president is a member, he kicks his ball back onto the fairway so often that the caddies call him "Pele."
  • "Trump is actually pretty good at golf," Reilly told me. "Tiger said he's about a 10 handicap. That's pretty good. In fact, that's great for a 72-year-old guy. He wouldn't be bad as an honest golfer." (He isn't, though.)

The bottom line: There's something refreshing about a Trump-related story devoid of politics. Instead of immediately retreating to our corners, we're able to, hopefully, examine this at face value and decide for ourselves what to make of it.

  • "Who cares, plenty of people cheat at golf" is one possible conclusion. "Golf says a lot about a man" is another.

P.S. ... For all of our D.C. readers, Rick is doing a book signing at Solid State Books near Union Station at 7pm ET tonight.

Go deeper

Battle for the soul of a new web

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A well-funded and intensely motivated chunk of tech's hive mind is finding common cause in a vast new project: rebuilding the web on a foundation of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech. They call it "Web3."

The big picture: Developers, investors and early adopters imagine a future in which the technologies that enable Bitcoin and Ethereum will break up the concentrated power today's tech giants wield and usher in a golden age of individual empowerment and entrepreneurial freedom.

Thanksgiving box office shows theaters have long road to recovery

Photo of Disney's "Encanto;" Credit: Disney

Box office ticket sales over the Thanksgiving holiday show that consumer confidence in moviegoing is slowly improving, but not enough to bring the struggling theater industry back to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, if ever.

Why it matters: "We may have to temper expectations a bit" for next year, said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
42 mins ago - Health

Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world

Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images

The emergence of the Omicron variant is bringing new urgency to global vaccination efforts.

Why it matters: New variants can emerge anywhere, and can spread everywhere. Getting doses to the developing world — and getting those doses into people's arms — is essential, and that effort has so far been lagging.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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