Kim Jong Il, the late supreme leader of North Korea, was a heckuva golfer. He only played once, in 1994, and he reportedly shot a 38-under par round on the country's only golf course, including 11 holes-in-one (although some report he only had five). That's right: Par was 72, he shot a 34. His worst score all round was birdie.
He then promptly retired from the sport.
Now, you can take that to the bank. The news was reported by North Korea's state-run media, and "fake news" hadn't even been invented yet. Forget that most golf courses only have four par 3s — holes on which you can actually make a hole in one. It's in the paper, so it's gotta' be true.
From the reaction on Twitter, President Trump shooting 73 — at age 70 — is just as unbelievable. But Sen. Lindsey Graham, a longtime buddy of Sen. John McCain and, like the war hero, not exactly a big Trump fan, says that's exactly what happened.
Mike Warren, the senior writer at the Weekly Standard, checked it out.
Trump and Graham played on the Columbus Day holiday at Trump National Golf Club, the president's club in Northern Virginia. From the tips (the back tees), the course measures 7,693 yards. From some more-forward tees, where most average golfers would play from, the course is still lengthy at 6,494. The senior tees would be even shorter.
In the senior PGA tournament held there this summer, Bernhard Langer shot 68 the final day to win by one stroke. Some really famous golfers didn't fare so well: Hale Irwin, about Trump's age at 72 and the oldest ever to win the U.S. Open (at 45), shot 76-82 to miss the cut. Tom Kite went 75-80. Corey Pavin shot a 69 on Day One, but then hacked it around the next day for an 82. And Tom Watson, winner of eight major championships, could only manage 76-74.
But Trump shot a 73 — one over par. Is he really that good? "The president's official handicap is 2.8, although he hasn't posted a score since June 2016," Golf.com reports. "Of the 20 scores listed under his most recent scores, just one is better than a 73. (That was a 70 he reported shooting in August 2013.)"
He lapped Graham, who's just 62. "How bad did he beat me?" Graham wrote in another tweet. "I did better in the presidential race than today on the golf course! Great fun. Great host."
Monday was rainy and windy and exceedingly humid. Shooting a 73 that day would take some serious skill — even from more forward tees (you still gotta' hit fairways and greens and make some putts).
Some on Twitter found the tale as hard to believe as Kim shooting a 34.
David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, perhaps the best golfer ever to inhabit the White House, snarked:
Richard Haass, president of the Council of Foreign Relations, tweeted:
There were a slew of political musings as well, with posters slamming Trump for playing golf after hurricanes and with California burning.
Only Trump and Graham (and maybe a few Secret Service agents) know if the president really shot a 73. But I'll add one personal note: My dad beat me like a drum into his 70s. I'd hit my drive 290 into the trees, he'd poke his 3-wood out there 215. I'd drop, miss the green, then three-putt for 7, he'd knock one up close to the grren (sometimes with his trusty 7-wood), chip to three feet and tap in for par. All. Day. Long.
So a 70-year-old lifelong golfer can absolutely shoot 73. I plan to do that, too, one day, God willing.