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Carol Marin: ‘A good lie is important,’ and other parallels of politics to golf

Updated: September 26, 2013 6:36AM



From an old episode of “M*A*S*H”:

Col. Potter reading the newspaper:

“It says here that President Eisenhower is playing more golf.”

BJ Honeycutt: “What’s his handicap?”

Hawkeye Pierce: “A lot of people say it’s Nixon.”

What is it about politics and golf?

Presidents tee it up for the cameras. Eisenhower to Obama.

Now that I have begun learning the game, I’ve come to wonder if there is a nexus between hitting a little white ball around a lush, green course and playing the game of politics.

And so I asked my pals on Twitter and Facebook what political lessons can be learned from golf.

The answers rolled in.

† Edward McClelland cracked, “A good lie is important in both.”

† Bernie Cicirelllo had the mayor in mind: “Rahm is going thru it now. No matter how well you play, the game will humble you if you think you’ve mastered it.”

† Jeff Mitchell offered this golf/politics lesson:

“No cheating. You spent 10 minutes in the woods . . . the rest of the foursome knows that you didn’t really get the 6 you wrote on the scorecard. The rest of the foursome says nothing (and calls you up to play again next week) because we are used to your cheating and have become numb to it. That’s Illinois politics.”

† James E. Creed: “Play the ball as it lies.”

In Illinois politics, we know that’s mostly in the rough.

† John V. Sciackitano:

“Don’t slice or hook. Keep it down the middle.”

A lesson the Illinois GOP never learns.

† Joey D’Auria: “Everybody lies about their score . . . And there are no ‘mulligans’.”

Just a couple of Madigans.

† Josh Kilroy: “Is this column going to be about your first birdie?”

You mean my shot on the par-3, 8th hole last week that landed 18 inches from the flag? Thank you SO MUCH for asking!

† Tom Pawlak: “You can end up in the rough, then come out swinging. If you line your pockets with the greens, you go to prison. And finally there is no fairway in politics.”

If only Jesse Jackson Jr. had golfed more.

† State Rep. Kay Hatcher must have been thinking about the Legislature and no pension reform when she wrote: “Mulligans have a price — in many ways.”

† Pam Nieman Curtin “Sometimes the people around you [your caddies] know the most but never get the credit and always take the fall for when things go wrong! Take responsibility when applicable but never forget to give credit when it is due!”

Like that big-shot Chicago pol playing on the North Shore recently going on the cheap when tipping his caddie? We know who you are.

Finally, this:

† Jay Sutphin: “It is a game of HONOR . . . you keep your own score, you call penalties on yourself. REAL golfers . . . know the rules, play by them, and honor the game. Politicians should learn those lessons and do the same.”

Tip of the cap to you all!

Email: cmarin@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CarolMarin



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