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Finally! Some Golf Blogging!

12:29 PM, Mar 12, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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Now that Eliot Spitzer has finally ended the Empire State's long nightmare, the time is finally right to indulge in some long overdue golf-blogging.

Golf Digest has released its list of the best golfers in the political world. Not surprisingly, the two best are lobbyists. T-Mobile's Tony Russo checks in with a very strong +1.5 handicap Index. That means Russo probably shoots around par on a typical romp on the golf course, which is pretty good.

In Congress, the three best golfers are all Democrats, something that indicates to me a profound inversion of the way things ought to be. Happily, the eight next best golfers in congress are all Republicans. The Tennessee delegation especially distinguishes itself -- Rep. Zach Wamp boasts a 4.4. Index, and Senator Bob Corker has a strong 4.7. Index (although he claims he can't play to it). Also among those showing a decent amount of game are Minority Leader John Boehner and Senator Saxby Chambliss.

Given their handicap Indexes, all of the aforementioned solons should be able to break 80 with some regularity. I will make a point of trying to hook on to some congressional boondoggle (hopefully to Augusta National) to see if they can play to their numbers.

As far as presidential politics is concerned, Golf Digest has Barack Obama down with a 16 Index, which isn't really good but also not really bad. He's the only golfer left in the race, although the potential First Laddie is well known for his penchant for chasing the dimpled pellet (not to mention the zaftig intern). If Obama plays the former POTUS, he would be well-advised to keep the stakes low. Clinton is notorious for using a light pencil on his scorecard. As the New York Times reported back in 2001,

"Clinton reportedly shot a mulligan-aided 86 (caddies said the real score was closer to 100), but his round wasn't without some irony. On the 18th hole, Clinton had to extricate himself from the Valley of Sin."

Lest this piece conclude on a sour note of partisanship, let's also note how all-time golf great Sam Snead long insisted that when he played a round of golf with President Nixon, Nixon cheated:

Sam Snead recalled once playing with the President when Nixon's ball flew into a thicket. Moments later, Snead saw the ball arc onto the fairway. "I knew he threw it out," wrote Snead, but "what could I say?"

Golf develops and reveals character. We might well be better off if we decided presidential elections by a $5 Nassau rather than the current method.