Friday, June 17, 2011


"Golf is so popular simply because it is the best game in the world at which to be bad." A.A. Milne

The tickets at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland were sold out days ago and we’re not sure our wallet is deep enough to buy one from scalpers when the price of off-site parking (if you can find one) already goes at $50 a pop.

Their website come-on quotes former champ Johnny Miller: “This is for tough guys. There’s guys that are sort of made to win a U.S. Open. There are some guys that maybe kind of luck into winning a U.S. Open, but not too many guys can look you right in the eye and say, ‘I can win it.’ ”

Yeah, you could say that too for another golf game happening this weekend.

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are teeing off Saturday (Vice Pres. Joe Biden and Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio completing the foursome) for about 4 hours of “golf summit” at an undisclosed location somewhere in the Metro DC area. (The Secret Service is certainly more discrete than the Presidential Guards in Manila who virtually invaded the National Bilibid Prisons for an aborted “surprise” inspection by President Aquino)

Most reports say Boehner is the more accomplished and experienced player but following tradition, scores in a presidential golf match are as much a closely-guarded secret as the nuclear missile launch codes. (Golf Digest puts Boehner’s handicap at 7.9 while estimating the leftie President’s at 17)

Many are hoping they can somehow bridge their gap over raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit and find compromise in the deadlocked budget negotiations by the time they hit the back 9. If the White House fails to convince Congress to raise the debt limit, the US could default on its obligations and trigger what most experts say will be an economic Armageddon that will be felt around the planet.

"It is an opportunity for me and John to talk about some issues that are of importance to the American people," Obama said in a TV interview.

But Boehner retorted, "Saturday is about golf and I hope it's just about golf."

With the match’s outcome a secret anyway, some have taken to wagering on the sidelights – such as which player is going to light up first, closest to the pin? Both are known cigarette smokers although the President claims he’s quit. This “summit” is probably going to be the most interesting, intriguing, exciting unwatched golf match this year.

Golf has always fascinated us, not only because of the level and discipline it demands rather how it’s able to bring people together. In Manila, as we guess most other places, businessmen negotiated and closed multimillion-peso deals in between swings. Disgruntled colonels planned and plotted coups in the 1980s and 1990s on the greens and in the clubhouse.

"Playing golf with someone is a great way to really get to know someone,” Boehner said in an interview over public affairs show “60 Minutes”. “You start trying to hit that little white ball. You can't be somebody that you're not because all of you shows up."
“I expect it could get interesting out there, like, when do you call a penalty stroke on the other guy or what are the rules for conceding putts,” Reuters quoted Nathan Presnal, general manager and head pro at Lake Presidential Golf Course in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

“It could be a real good exercise in bipartisanship, or it may just tell us what we’re in for for the next few years,” he added.

The President could look up “the other” golf match in Maryland this weekend. Four of the last six winning scores in U.S. Opens were even par — or worse.

Phil Mickelson, a three-time Master champ comparing the Congressional to Augusta, “Here the whole process is just to minimize the miss.”

Guess a golf game is a golf game and it doesn’t matter if you’re a novice, pro or the president of the United States – the fun is in the play.

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