"If we were running a business, we would not have been allowed to have a $6 million deficit last year, and have a $5 million deficit budgeted for this year."

driver_annual.jpgI can see it now. The Powell-Tate interns brainstorming session. Fit young woman in one of those stiff, bright Elizabeth Dole pantsuits you can only buy in Washington D.C., tells other eager to please lobbyists in training: "we have to counter this Golf World story to help our wonderful clients, the USGA."

Intern fresh out of Georgetown in Brooks Brothers graduation gift suit, dreaming of landing the Kazakhstan account so he can convince the world it's not what Borat says all so he can join Burning Tree by the time he's 35: "I got it. Let's have Walter Driver speak to the USA Today. They'll treat him nice!"

And voila! We have Walter Driver doing damage control in America's paper of mediocrity record. Only, Jerry Potter didn't exactly lob softballs.

Walter Driver, president of the U.S. Golf Association, says the one thing he'd like to see "is more written about the game of golf and less written about me. I don't think I'm much of a story."

You won't be soon, thankfully.

Nevertheless, Driver, 63, took time away from his Blackberry

Just kidding!

answered questions this week as the USGA enters the middle of its championship season with the U.S. Women's Open, beginning Thursday at Pine Needles in Southern Pines, N. C. Driver spoke with USA TODAY's Jerry Potter.

Are all golf organizations moving toward a corporate attitude, where decisions are based more on business and the bottom line?

I can't speak for other organizations, but the USGA is a non-profit. If we were running a business, we would not have been allowed to have a $6 million deficit last year, and have a $5 million deficit budgeted for this year.

Wow you learn something new everyday. Apparently it's against the law to budget a deficit. Thankfully, the USGA is not running a business! Otherwise we've have to lock these Executive Committee members up for breaking the law.

Uh, by the way, they're going to lose $5 million this year? What are these people doing, flying around the country in a private jet?  Oh here we go...

Why does the USGA run deficits?

Not all of our 13 national championships make money. The Open makes money, but the Women's Open does not. The Senior Open varies from year to year.

Damn those other tournaments for slacking. Why even play them if they don't make money, I say!

I'm sorry, why is you have $290 million in reserve again? Oh continue...

The USGA now has sponsors, including an official car made by Toyota, a Japanese company. Why?

Last year we spent $2 million providing cars for players and officials at our national championships. Before this year, we talked to the three domestic manufacturers, and there was not a lot of interest. We contacted (Toyota's) Lexus, and they were the most interested.

$2 million eh? Huh...interesting.

Is the executive committee taking a bigger role in the work of the USGA?
If you talk with the people setting up our courses, and the people doing the research on equipment, you'd find the executive committee is having less input.
Something tells me that they wouldn't answer that question for, oh, I don't know, fear of losing their job? How is the head hunt going, Walter. Wait, sorry, don't want to interrupt before you share some of your business wisdom with us.
It's the nature of any high-performance corporation if there's an area where you're not doing the job, then you have to pay attention to it.

Wow. Deep! Uh but Walter, the USGA is not a high-performance corporation.

Well, this will warm your heart...

Do you have a fun memory of your time as president?

Last year Allen Doyle beat Tom Watson at the Senior Open. In the presentation ceremony I said I knew those guys well. Watson used to beat me in college, and Doyle used to beat me in amateur tournaments in Georgia.

Just an FYI...this is generally the part where no matter how much it pains you Walter, you say the best memories come from those long days at the championships, seeing all of the wonderful volunteers working for the love of the game while players grind their hearts out because they just love this game so much. Just a thought!