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Congressional Caddie Ranks Presidents

June 12, 1997|MIKE JAMES

President Clinton gets the best score among chief executives on the card of Joe Hall, who has been on the job a lot longer than just about anyone in the White House or on Capitol Hill.

Hall, 61, has carried golf bags and dispensed vital course information at Congressional for 45 years. He has caddied for Richard Nixon, while he was still vice president; Gerald Ford, George Bush and Clinton, along with enough legislators to staff a Congressional subcommittee on golf course ethics.

Clinton regularly plays from the gold tees at Congressional, which at about 6,700 yards are longer than the whites, but a good deal shorter than the tournament tees this week.

"He's a good putter," Hall said. "When he has his concentration and is relaxed, he can play, shoot 82-85.

"He likes to get away [from the business of running the country]. He came out one time with James Garner and they played 27 holes. . . . so I guess he had peace of mind.

"He's a nice guy. You can talk to him just like a man."

Bush was a little less approachable for Hall. The caddie realized that the few times he managed to catch up to him, because Bush likes to hit shots and be in position to hit the next one before the ball comes down.

"He's rapid fire," Hall said. "You don't get too much conversation. . . . He can break 100, shoot in the 90s."

Ford's notoriety for scatter-shooting didn't suffer at Congressional.

Said Hall: "He could do anything; he had no idea where the ball was going."

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