Roundup: Golfers Remember George H.W. Bush

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Other than consistently establishing his love of playing the game quickly, the various stories in the wake of George H.W. Bush’s passing present a nice variety of recollections from the 41st President’s life in golf.

The statements and condolences are rolling in, including these from the current and former PGA Tour Commissioner’s that rang up 41’s phone pretty regularly.

Bill Fields files a very nice and in-depth obituary of 41-the-golfer for PGATour.com that included several fun anecdotes. This I did not know…

Although playing in front of galleries made him nervous, Bush did so a number of times. When he was President, he played in the Doug Sanders Kingwood Celebrity Classic pro-am in May 1990 in a group consisting of Sanders, then-PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman and Bush’s oldest son, George W.

Before he teed off, Bush told the spectators: “I would have but one request: Keep on being the points of light, keep on with the concept that it really is right for one American to help another, and please don’t laugh at the drive off the first tee.”

Rex Hoggard talks to various players about the fun of playing a round with President Bush.

From The Golfweek archives, Bill Speros unearth’s this gem from James Achenbach and Jeff Rude on 41’s golfing life.

Jim Nantz filed this piece for GolfDigest.com on that time he played with Bush and Clinton for the first time, enlisted by the President as a bit of a middleman. It’s a story he told in his book as well and clearly one of the best days of Nantz’s golf life.

John Strege offers this from his most famous round with Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, Bob Hope and Scott Hoch in the 1995 Bob Hope Classic.

It was a round marked by persistent shouts of “fore,” though no one added “more years” in what was a Republican stronghold in the California desert. By one estimation, 20,000 spectators were on hand at Indian Wells Country Club that day, many of them ducking for cover at various points of the round. Bush tagged two spectators with errant shots, drawing blood from one when his ball caromed off a tree and struck a woman on the bridge of the nose.

Bush never appeared comfortable during that round, for two apparent reasons. He often spoke of “the humiliation factor,” which no doubt was amplified in front of a large crowd. And the pace at which he prefers to play, measured with a stop watch rather than a sundial, was not remotely attainable. The round took “an obscene six hours,” former Golf World editor Jaime Diaz, then with Sports Illustrated, wrote.

President Bush Friend: “He’s a golf-aholic now"

Peter Baker files a New York Times profile (thanks reader Tim) of President George W. Bush that offers rare insights into the former president's life in Dallas, including his fundraising work for wounded warriors, his concerns about the Tea Party and what appears to now be the same obsession with golf shared by his father.

From Baker's profile that is accompanied by the president in a Presidents Cup hat as Tim Finchem is deep in thought: 

But Mr. Bush is most worried about what he sees as a growing isolationism, a retreat from the tough-minded national security policies and assertive American role in the world that he championed. “That’s his main concern about the Tea Party,” Mr. Glassman said. In that vein, Mr. Bush contributed $5,000 to Senator Lindsey Graham, a hawkish South Carolina Republican who is facing a challenge from the right.

His main passions these days, though, are elsewhere. Mr. Bush, who is 67, spent Halloween with his new granddaughter, who was dressed as an astronaut. He has a regular seat near the dugout at Texas Rangers games and gave the coin toss at a recent Southern Methodist University football game. He hosted a charity golf tournament, and after having a stent inserted to open a clogged artery, he is back on his bicycle.

“I would sum it up as library work, speeches, painting, golfing and mountain-bike riding,” said Mark McKinnon, a friend and former political consultant. “The most consistent characteristic about President Bush is that he truly loves and relishes life.”

After giving up golf while in office out of deference to troops at war, Mr. Bush has taken it up again. He sometimes plays with the first few people who happen to show up at courses like the Brook Hollow Golf Club or the Las Colinas Country Club, and he built a putting green at home. “He’s a golf-aholic now,” said his friend Charlie Younger.