There was some potential for awkwardness when Mike Tirico interviewed President Donald Trump on Sunday.
Trump called into NBC’s broadcast of a charity skins match secured on the 19th hole by Rory McIlroy to promote his agenda for reopening the country while pointing to sports to lead the way. The two also talked about golf.
As he signed off from the cordial interview, Tirico delivered this vague line about Trump’s golf game.
Mike Tirico gets the last 🔥 word w/President Trump: "We got to see first hand what a good putter you are. You knock it to kick in distance very often" - #DrivingRelief— Dave Briggs (@davebriggstv) May 17, 2020
cc: @ReillyRick #CommanderInCheat pic.twitter.com/jmu5C3SThk
“I got to see first-hand, you’re a good putter,” Tirico said. “Knocked it to kick-in distance often.”
Kick-in distance? That’s not proper golf parlance.
Some digging into Tirico’s golf history with Trump may provide an explanation. As Golf.com pointed out, the pair reportedly may not have as friendly a golf experience together as Sunday’s interview suggested.
An excerpt from Rick Reilly’s “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump” focuses on a round of golf played between Trump and Tirico before Trump was president.
As the story goes, Tirico was thrilled when he landed a 230-yard approach shot on the green.
“He hit the 3-wood of his life,” the excerpt reads. ‘Oh my god!’ his caddie said, open- mouthed. The thing had the flag covered from the start. It crested the hill perfectly and was going to be tight to the pin. Shocked at his sudden skill, Tirico high-fived his caddie and strode toward the green, his shoes barely touching the grass.
But when they walked to the green, Tirico discovered his ball wasn’t near the pin, but 50 yards away in a bunker.
“Lousy break,” Trump said to Tirico, who checked the marking on the ball to be sure it was his. It was. Befuddled, it took Tirico two swipes to escape the bunker on the way to a 7.
Then, according to Reilly’s book, Trump’s caddie told Tirico what happened to his ball.
“Afterwards,” Tirico remembers, “Trump’s caddie came up to me and said, ‘You know that shot you hit on the par 5? It was about 10 feet from the hole. Trump threw it into the bunker. I watched him do it.’
“What did Tirico do? He laughed, shook his head, went inside, and paid Trump his money. When it comes to golf, Trump is the tornado and you are the trailer.”
Tirico has never publicly addressed the claim made in Reilly’s book. He’s spoken with Dan Patrick about the round before and didn’t criticize the president for his golf game. So what was Sunday’s “kick-in” comment about?
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