John Kasich Would Be a Golfing President

November 16, 2015

If John Kasich becomes the president, that won’t slow down his golf game.

The Republican presidential hopeful got another chance to work on his golf swing this week during an appearance on the Golf Channel.

“I get to be president, I’m going to play golf,” Kasich told the host, citing the importance of down time and unwinding in such a stressful, high-pressure job. “It’s good therapy,” he said.

President Obama has been criticized by some conservatives for his golf outings, and George W. Bush was similarly chastised during his presidency. Bush stopped playing altogether in 2003 because he thought it didn’t look right as soldiers were being sent to Iraq. But Kasich believes that the sport has a rightful place in a president’s schedule. He said that he uses any small opportunity he can find in his hectic itinerary to take a few swings, because it helps to clear his mind. (If Kasich does someday follow in previous presidents’ footsteps to the golf course, he’d have to play quite a few rounds to reach the record for most golf played while in office: Dwight Eisenhower and Woodrow Wilson each played at least 800 rounds in two terms; Wilson played almost 1,200.)

Kasich also talked about playing golf with Arnold Palmer, calling him an “unbelievable man,” his admiration for Jack Nicklaus, and Yogi Berra’s advice for how to sink more putts. “I said, ‘Yogi, I’m having trouble putting’… And he said, ‘Just put it in the hole.’”

Kasich connected golf to fitness, saying that how well he plays is an affirmation of whether he’s in good shape or not. He also uses the course to get a little extra exercise in by carrying his own clubs and vowing that he never wants to ride in a golf cart.

As he practiced his swing in the Golf Channel’s simulator, Kasich said that he has a tendency to hook the ball. “I get a little yanked to the left,” he said. The host had to chuckle: the Ohio governor has weathered attacks that he stands out as too liberal in a field of outspoken right-wing candidates.