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Kennedy Is Golf Gentleman … Clinton Is Swindler

Posted September. 26, 2003 23:28,   


From the White House to the green

Golf is ‘character’. It is said that a person’s `personality` will be visible through traveling, drinking, or playing golf with a person.

This book (Original Title of First Off the Tee) introduces 14 of the17 USA presidents during the last century including William H Taft (27th) to George W. Bush (43rd). Their political tendency and character were all different respectively, but there is something in common. All of them enjoyed playing golf. Golf was a sport loved the most by the owners of the White House.

The writer concludes, `Even the president of USA who has the most powerful authority on earth becomes an original man once he grabs a golf club`. Indeed, how devoted were the USA presidents to the game of golf that is the only sport without a referee.

The author classified 12 of the 14 presidents into 3 categories, that is `pure type,` `worst type` and `swindler type.`

Bill Clinton who was notorious for countless mulligan (missed shots that are not added to the score) was classified as a `swindler type.` However, `pure type` John F Kennedy was counted one of the `best player` among the presidents with his clean manner. As for Taft, a big man weighing over 160kg, is classified as `worst type,` described frankly as `a sumo fighter plying golf.`

In particular, the record of accompanied round for 6 hours with Clinton in August 2002 is very interesting. The author concluded Clinton’s golf playing style as ‘cheating with a golf ball’. He wrote that Clinton`s mulligan should be modified as `Billigun` to give the notion that he is the patentee of mulligan.

The USA Golf Association prescribes `a player cannot practice shots while playing in the hole, and a penalty shot (2) will be given if this is violated`. However, Clinton violated in all the holes during the rounding with the author. He even repeated fairway iron shots if he wasn’t satisfied. It was frequently seen Clinton explaining away, ˝Was this my first shot? Or this one? I cannot remember well.˝

This was one of the reasons for Republican candidate Bob Dole raising `Clinton’s honesty in the golf club` as a political issue. However, Clinton says exultingly, ˝It is true that I hit one or two practice shots, but I do record my score exactly˝.

The writer states that Clinton’s conviction of `You have to believe that you are capable of doing something if there is something you wish to do` as a politician may have been reflected to the sport of golf. `This man may be even deceiving himself. Maybe he believes that he had never cheated his record at all.`

Worthy of being an investigation reporting journalist who had won the Pulitzer Award 3 times, the author indicated that 3 presidents who didn’t play golf (Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, and Jimmy Carter) all failed for reelection. He also mentioned that presidency candidates, Al Gore and Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale, who didn’t play golf were all defeated by their competitors who were famous for the love toward golf. Jimmy Carter was the only non-golfer to gain victory against his competitor Gerald Ford who was a golfer.

Therefore, the author advises it is wiser to play golf and open the passion toward the sport if there is a chance to become the president of United States.

One missing part is that he did not classify current president Bush and his father and 41st president Bush. He only describes their golf playing style as ‘speed golf’ taking a line from the word of President Bush.

A `successful` round my father thinks is not how to reduce hits but how fast you hit one. We play golf to round 18 holes within 3 hours.˝

The shortest time record for father and son Bush for 18 hole round is 1 hour 42 minutes. President Bush may be showing his destructive impatience like his father. The author mentions carefully with the golf rounding time.

Young-Sik Ahn ysahn@donga.com