Thursday, October 16, 2008

Plenty of presidents have played golf—think of JFK's smooth swing, Dwight Eisenhower's Augusta National getaways, Gerald Ford's wayward drives into pro-am galleries, and Bill Clinton's "Billigans" (aka presidential mulligans)— but we've never had a president who used the bully pulpit to make our game better. So here's the presidential speech that all golfers want to hear, because while some of us bleed GOP red and others are true Democrat blue, deep down we're all about greens— fairways and greens, that is.

My Fellow American Golfers,
All along the campaign trail, from the clubhouse at the Old Lakeview Creek Country Club in Springfield, Mass., to the snack bar at Big Al's All-You-Can-Hit Driving Range in Skokie, Ill., I'm asked the same question: 'How is the state of our game? ' Well, my friends, the state of our game is strong ... but it could be stronger. In honor of our country's pioneering, never-surrender spirit that says 'I can still make bogey here, ' I give you my New Deal for American golfers:

1 No more showing your receipt to the starter. In my administration, this backward policy will go the way of carbon paper and waiting for the wedding night. If the guy at Exxon can figure out from the comfort of his bulletproof booth that I paid for my gas, then the kid in the pro shop should be able to call the starter and say, "That guy who dresses like Phil Mickelson and swings like Amy Mickelson? He paid."

2 Speaking of Phil, I want to see him win more tournaments—and I know you do, too. Therefore, my first executive order will demand that the PGA Tour give Phil two strokes a side at each major (better make that three on Sundays).

3 Many of us struggle with getting tee times at quality courses, especially when on vacation. Thus the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will hereby be known as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Golf Resort and Spa.

4 I will ask Tiger Woods to join my cabinet as secretary of whichever department he feels like running.

5 Cart-path-only rules will be abolished. If we wanted to spend our weekends walking five miles, we wouldn't be playing golf. In extraordinary circumstances—flooding, a John Daly visit—cart-path-only rules will be allowed, but players will receive 50 percent off their greens fees. If the course has a problem with that, tell them to send me a letter. The address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—maybe they've heard of it.

6 All professional women golfers will be required to speak English, unless they're really hot.

7 David Feherty will join my administration as press secretary and official mouthpiece. That should be a nice change from the bodily orifice he's used to being called.

8 I will work to abolish the death penalty in all cases except treason and guys who insist on wearing plusfours on the golf course.

9 The Masters will give me tickets. I'm the president, dammit! Please?

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