Dick Kelley on
      President Clinton

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In the introduction to their book, 'Presidential Lies', Shepherd Campbell and Peter Landau, (MacMillan, 1996 Benay Enterprises), suggest why golf is the game of presidents.  As they offer in the book, "is it because of the British saying, 'golf is a game of busy men?', or perhaps the popular wise crack, 'my worst day on the golf course beats my best day in office?'!   They go on, that 'There is one near-constant at work in the White House: Golf was more often than not the incumbent's primary form of recreation and relaxation.'

Of the 16 presidents beginning with the first golfing president -William Howard Taft, 'at the turn of the century, thirteen of those next sixteen presidents played golf with some degree of seriousness.'  The three who did not play are Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, and Jimmy Carter.  Those presidents who did play golf were Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., and now Jr. and Bill Clinton.  

Dick Kelley was the father-in-law and often playing partner of former President Bill Clinton.  I got to meet Dick, who was playing in a pro am at a Buy.com event in Hot Springs Arkansas -former President Bill Clintons home town.  The following day Dick played golf at the Hot Springs Country Club with the ex pres who was in town for a fund raiser.  CaddyByes interviewed Dick, and he related this 'Caddy Story' about playing one unique and special round of golf with President Clinton while he was still in the White House!

- How about your play with President Clinton?  Golf in the White House, has almost as long and storied a history as the game itself!

Dick Kelley
-He played once in a while and played golf as a form of relaxation for him.  I'm Bill Clintons stepfather I was married to his mother Virginia.  When I married his mother, Bill was Attorney General of Arkansas.  He loved to play golf and didn't' get to play much early on, but played more in the White House, when he had the opportunity.  "He really enjoys the game.  He'll maybe make fun of your stroke, but then he'll try to teach you what's right.

CaddyBytes.com -What's one of your favorite golfing stories about President Clinton?

Dick Kelley -  I checked into the White House one Thursday afternoon, and he says to me, "Dick, guess who we're gonna play golf with?!"   I said, "I have no idea?"  He says, "Corey Pavin!"  I said, "Oh, you're kidding me!?"  "No, I'm not kidding you!?  "Then I said, 'How are we going to do that, he's playing in the Kemper this week, (PGA event in Washington, D.C. that week)?!"

"Well, he's got his family with him, and they're all going to come to the White House and we're going to entertain them, and he tees off at 8:00 in the morning, so we're going to play with him in the afternoon."

"So that afternoon, we go to the Army Country Club out there, and on the first tee, the President, is telling Corey, "Corey you probably don't want to use a driver here, and Corey listens and hits the shot, that he advises."  So on every hole there on he's telling Corey, now this is what you've got to do here...."  This goes on all the way around for nine holes with Corey listening to the presidential advice and making the plays accordingly.  "Well, we get to the 10th tee at the Army Country Club, and it's about 225 yds. straight out and then the second shot doglegs right 180 yds. to the green.  

And there's' a row of tall pine trees down the right side blocking any tee shot cutting the corner off to the green.  "Corey looks down the fairway after asking for the presidents advice, and then says, "Well, just  where is the green?"  And, Bill tells him -it's way up behind those tall pine trees and stuff. "you need to shoot down here, (pointing straightaway)."   Well, Corey didn't say anything, got up and instead of hitting it down here he hit it up over the trees, (motioning), and knocked it just short of the front of the green!"  And then we all laughed and carried on and told him what a great shot he'd hit!"

"Here' s a guy who was one of the top players in golf -we enjoyed it so much, and then come Sunday, Corey just missed winning the tournament at Kemper losing in a playoff on the first extra hole.   But thereafter went on to win the U.S. Open.  So after he won the Open the next week, we're telling everyone, "see we taught him some things!"

Corey came over to the White House with his family to visit and play golf after making the cut after Fridays morning round of golf at the Kemper Open in Bethesda there in 1995.  After losing in a playoff two days after playing that round of golf with President Bill Clinton and Dick Kelley, he did indeed win the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, on Long Island the next week, with a spectacular second shot on the 18th hole!

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