LPGA Star Suzann Pettersen is a close personal friend of President Trump, and has hit the links with him many a time. However, things took a turn this month after Pettersen claims she was misquoted by a Norwegian newspaper as saying Trump “cheats like hell” at golf.
Pettersen gave a long interview to the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang, but since its publication many news sources claimed the top female golfer accused the president of being a cheater on the fairway.
As stories of her purported accusation mount, the LPGA Tour winner has excoriated a multitude of news outlets saying they misquoted her and that words she meant to relay the president’s sense of humor and playfulness, were twisted just to “make a headline.”
The golfer posted a statement to Her Facebook page reading:
Over the last few days, the media has quoted me that I said President Trump “cheats in golf.” Not true at all and this has been taken WAY out of context from a long interview I did last week with a Norwegian media outlet. With a big smile on my face what I said was that he most likely paid his caddy well because every time he found his ball it was in the fairway. The way this has been requoted by many other media outlets is NOT correct and not a fair account of the original interview. I surely hope journalists that requote things like this in the future will read the full story and not just read headlines. Things always seem to come out the wrong way and what’s sad is that this was a very positive interview. To me, it seems like the media enjoys twisting things for their readers and viewers. Another lesson learned. I’m sorry for Mr. Trump who I have known many years, who loves the game, and who I consider a friend!
— Suzann Pettersen (@suzannpettersen) January 30, 2018
The controversy was stirred by the January 27 interview where Pettersen is quoted as saying, “He cheats like hell.” The 15-time LPGA Tour winner supposedly added “So I don’t quite know how he is in business. They say that if you cheat at golf, you cheat at business.”
The LPGA star also went on to say that Trump must “pay his caddies well” because drives that were once headed for the woods always seem to end up back on the fairway. She also mentioned that Trump loves to take “gimmies.”
In another portion of the interview, Pettersen was quoted as dissing Trump’s putting abilities. “He always says he is the world’s best putter. But in all the times I’ve played him, he’s never come close to breaking 80,” she said.
“But what’s strange is that every time I talk to him, he says he just golfed a 69, or that he set a new course record or won a club championship some place. I just laugh,” the paper says she told them.
Pettersen says she doesn’t support Trump’s politics but has been a close friend and frequent golf partner over the years.
The golfer also slammed the president for not being “smarter” in the way he communicates, and criticized him for being “stubborn.”
“He could have won more easily, but made some blunders with his statements,” she said. “That’s because he is so stubborn. He has not changed five millimeters since becoming president.”
The Norwegian newspaper told Golf.com that they stand by their reporting.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.