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"He begs for a gimme," Raynor says. "He'd rather face Congress than a three-foot putt. Sometimes on the green with the ball near the pin he calls out, 'In respect for the high office of the Vice-Presidency, isn't that putt good?' I'm usually his partner, so I stay mum, but his opponents seem to get pleasure out of seeing him sweat it out. It's amazing. Usually if the ball's within the length of the leather grip, it's a gimme, but for him within the blade is a challenge."
According to Raynor, Bush had tried every conceivable stroke to try to cure himself of the spasms or yips that take over when he addresses a putt. "He's even tried putting one-handed!" says Raynor. "The rest of his game is very strong. His best score on the course is 76. He'd be an easy 11 handicap if he could get his putting under control."
To the Bushes, the score seems less important than the time it takes to get around the course. "It's not what you make on a hole but how many ticks on the stopwatch it's taken you to hole out," Raynor says. "Cart polo we call it. We've done 18 holes in two hours and 20 minutes."
Is there any wagering?
"Absolutely not," he says. "It's all for respect—bragging rights. On the first tee the Vice-President often tells everybody, 'All right now, it's dog-eat-dog. No favors. No friends.' And that's what his opponents bring up when he's faced with a one-foot putt and wants a gimme!"
If golf outings are likely to be sporadic, other sporting pursuits will be more regularly scheduled. Almost certainly the new President will travel every winter between Christmas and New Year's to Parish's cattle ranch, the Lazy F, which is south of Houston, to hunt through the rolling hills of mesquite and huisache for quail and turkey. Farish, an investment counselor and horse breeder (he manages the syndicate that recently purchased Alysheba, who will stand at Farish's farm in Versailles, Ky.), says Bush prefers stalking quail. "He'll walk for hours behind the dogs," Farish says. "But waiting down in the creek beds for turkey, that's a little confining."
Keeping on the move has been a near obsession for Bush. During his stint in China, he rode a bicycle everywhere. "Instead of getting into a big limo, I'd arrive at a diplomatic function on a bike," he says. "It didn't surprise the Chinese, though sometimes they were startled to see my mother, who was in her seventies, arrive with me."
The President-elect took up jogging in 1976, after he returned from China and took over the CIA. "Unlike many who say they've never seen a happy jogger, I really enjoy it," he says. "It gives me time to reflect, to clear the head. Before the debates in 1984, I practiced my answers on a track that took two minutes to go around—the same amount of time you're given to reply."
Bush runs about three miles a day when time permits—substantially less than Carter, a very serious jogger who ran as many as seven miles when he stayed at Camp David. In 1979, Carter considered himself fit enough to enter the Catoctin Mountain 10K race, in Maryland. Running in a field of 750, wearing number 39, black socks and a yellow headband, Carter dropped out of the race after 3� miles, ashen-faced, and was helped into a Secret Service car. He recovered in time to present prizes to the winners at the finish line—to which he was driven.
Bush has also run a 10K, but under far less conspicuous circumstances than Carter. At the Secret Service facility at Annapolis in 1981, he dawdled along, outpaced by agents trying to make an impression. He says he needed just about an hour to finish, which is a fairly respectable time.