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In An Unpredictable Debate, a Tussle Over Golf Was Par for the Course

It was a surreal detour during a presidential debate already filled with peculiar exchanges and meandering remarks. On Thursday night, after squabbles about the economy, abortion and the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump tussled over … golf.

“I just won two club championships — not even senior, two regular club championships,” Mr. Trump boasted as he answered a question tied to how he would be 82 years old at the end of a second presidential term. “To do that, you have to be quite smart, and you have to be able to hit the ball a long way. And I do it. He doesn’t do it. He can’t hit a ball 50 yards.”

Mr. Biden, 81, declared that he would be “happy to have a driving contest” with Mr. Trump.

“I got my handicap, when I was vice president, down to a six,” the president said, referring to a system by which golfers compare their abilities. The lower the number, the better the player.

“And by the way, I told you before, I’m happy to play golf if you carry your own bag,” Mr. Biden continued, addressing Mr. Trump. “Think you can do it?”

Mr. Trump, 78, routinely uses a cart. He did not respond to that particular challenge, but scoffed, “That’s the biggest lie — that he’s a six-handicap — of all.”

Read more on nytimes.com