A diplomatic immunity to defeat

Click to follow
President Bill Clinton, having offered visits to the White House to all those playing in the US Open, is expected to put in an appearance today at Congressional, possibly even presenting the trophy - as long as there is no 18-hole play-off tomorrow. He might finally meet up with Tiger Woods after the Masters champion turned him down in the wake of his victory at Augusta.

One of Clinton's last rounds of golf before injuring his knee at Greg Norman's home in March was at Congressional, which is considered the home course of the White House incumbent. The course was opened in 1924 as a place for Washington's high and mighty to have a quiet place to play. The first president of the club was Herbert Hoover, while one of the most regular players among present members is George Bush's vice-president Dan Quayle, a six-handicapper.

"There are two rules about playing golf with the President," said Donna Shalala, 25-handicapper and Secretary of Health and Human Services. "Don't keep score and the President always wins."

COLIN Montgomerie and Nick Faldo are likely to resume their Ryder Cup pairing at Valderrama. Or are they? Montgomerie has given an interview to Golf Digest, the American magazine which has just signed up Tiger Woods, in which two of his verbal qualities are prominent: it is both long and candid.

Of playing with Faldo, Monty says: "It's hard work, actually." Specifically, he adds: "I don't think he holes enough putts. He misses too many 15-footers. He putts differently [to me]. He joins the dots on the greens. He starts from the hole and goes back to the ball. If it is going in, it is going to cross this dot and cross this dot. What I feel is, where is the pace in this? Because to go in, the ball has got to have pace and direction. I would almost encourage Nick to line up the putt, look at the hole and then strike the ball. That would give him more of a pace. But I'm not teaching Nick Faldo."

CLEARLY the man who stripped down to his white polka-dotted underpants and dived into the pond by the 17th and 18th greens on Wednesday had not realised it was infested with the sort of snake that slithered out while Colin Montgomerie was putting at 18 on Thursday.

The gentleman, who emerged from the water, ran up the hill and evaded the marshals, was described in the local press as being "in his early 20s with considerable waistline girth".

AFTER a first-round 80, did Matt Gogel, a 26-year-old from Kansas, make a call to Calcutta? When he and his fiancee played in the Indian Open there last year, they visited Mother Teresa. "We got up at 5.30 and went to mass," said Gogel. "She was there with 120 nuns. It was the chance of a lifetime." Gogel went to the turn in 32 on Friday, but still missed the cut on 151.

THE Washington Post, once famous for its Watergate expose by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, is clearly not the newspaper it once was, nor is it able to call upon the same calibre of journalists.

Speculating on the grand slam possibilities of a certain phenomenon, Thomas Boswell wrote: "With continual high winds and a smaller British ball, who knows what prodigious feats of length Woods will unleash at Royal Troon in July." For the record, the smaller British ball preceded Richard Nixon into obscurity.

WHEN play was suspended because of a thunderstorm with Tiger Woods left with two holes to play, the marshals found it difficult to usher spectators to safe areas. One fan, Steve Forman, who had been in place at the 18th since 6.20am, said: "The only thing that is going to get me out of here will be a hearse."

LEE Janzen, playing with Billy Andrade in a practice round with Mark Calcavecchia and Paul Stankowski, was more than a little unchuffed to lose the money after finishing birdie, birdie. Calcavecchia holed his four-iron at the last for an ace to swing seven bets his team's way.

LARRY Dorman bowed out as golf correspondent of the New York Times with Tiger Woods' sensational Masters victory. Days later he took up the position of vice- president of advertising, press and public relations for the equipment company Callaway. Little did he know that his boss, the veteran inventor Ely Callaway, was about to sign up the enfant terrible John Daly.

Daly's liaison with Callaway, who have helped to pay off some of the Wild Thing's gambling debts as well as support him in his battle against alcohol addiction, promises to challenge Dorman's spin-doctoring skills. When, on Friday afternoon after Daly's sudden walkout, Dorman entered the press tent, he was suddenly surrounded by his former colleagues. But a journalist background is hard to throw off, and forgetting for a moment Daly's past associations with Jack Daniels, Dorman revealed: "John is in good spirits."

FURMAN Bisher has seen and done most things in a career as sports columnist for the Atlanta Constitution in which he has reported on Sarazen, Snead, Nelson, Hogan, Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson and Woods.

But even he was surprised when, on Thursday night at the media hotel, the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Bisher ordered a light beer on room service and was asked for proof that he was over 21. Bisher is 75.