Carnes: The biggest round of their lives
They all attempted to shake hands on the 1st tee, but not everyone arrived on time.
“Where’s Giuliani?” asked Mitt Romney while looking ominously over his shoulder.
“Don’t know, don’t care,” replied Hilary Clinton, who immediately took it upon herself to accept “honors” on the 1st tee.
The other presidential candidates just rolled their eyes, sharing a collective groan.
They had assumed Rudy Giuliani would have honors at the start of the round, as that’s what Mr. Pollster at the Pro Shop had said to each of their campaign managers.
“That just goes to show you what can happen if you try to depend on a cross-dressing habitual groomsman,” commented Ron Paul loudly from his cart, being careful not to avert his eyes away from his Blackberry.
“Just keep raising those Pay Pal dollars over there, Ron, that’s apparently what you’re good at,” retorted John Edwards, who was busy admiring his own reflection off of his shiny brand new titanium driver.
The hopefuls were split into two foursomes, but only the first group, Clinton, Obama, McCain and Romney, were going to bother keeping score.
The front four holes were close, but Clinton was able to maintain a slim 1-shot lead over the pack. It was at the par-3, 5th green when the momentum shifted. The green had an odd shape, looking a little like Iowa.
Clinton approached a relatively easy six-foot birdie putt. All was quiet as she finished her gentle backswing and began a smooth, but firm, follow through.
“AMEN, HALLELUJAH JESUS!” someone suddenly screamed.
All heads turned back towards the 4th green.
Sure enough, it was Huckabee.
Out of nowhere the guy had scored an eagle; a 130-yard shot doing a loopy-loop around the cup and somehow bouncing off of Fred Thompson’s ball and falling in the cup.
Clinton’s six-foot putt went six yards instead.
“Whoa! How many Hail Marys did that one take?” shouted Romney with a loud chuckle.
“I’m Baptist, you dolt!” shouted back Huckabee.
Obama sank his birdie, quietly taking the lead.
Clinton finished the hole with four putts, scoring the group’s first double-bogey of the round. Pursing her lips tightly, she stomped over to the cart and snatched up her cell phone.
“Must be calling Bill,” said McCain with a snicker just barely under his breath.
In what was to become a trend, all hell broke loose on the 6th hole.
Clinton stormed back with another birdie, as surprisingly also did McCain. Much to their personal dismay, Obama and Huckabee both bogeyed, with everyone else making par, thus bringing all the scores back to pretty much dead even, except for Paul, who was still busy typing away on his Blackberry.
The 7th hole was more of the same, only different.
Romney scored his first birdie of the round, with everyone else swinging through trees, other fairways, and even a whiff or two. Huckabee attempted to hit a ball out of the water by claiming he could walk on it first.
He sank quicker than Bush’s poll numbers.
Thompson wouldn’t stop demanding a visit from the beer cart girl, who eerily resembled Kucinich’s wife.
The 8th hole ended with a surprise birdie by Paul, but it was nowhere near enough to bring him back into the hunt.
At that point Mr. Course Marshall drove up with an urgent message from Giuliani. Evidently he had been off playing a course in Florida, but not being sure if it was a mistake, he promised to return in time to join them for the Back Nine.
The Marshall drove off mumbling something about “Reagan.”
As they approached the 9th tee box, (nicknamed “Super Tuesday” for reasons understood by no one), they couldn’t help but notice how wide open the fairway appeared.
“It’s still anyone’s round,” announced Romney to the group. “But either way, I’m buyin’ at the turn!”
While most of those in the second group were willing to finish the front, a few hinted at joining the gallery instead.
Meanwhile, President Bush was already on the par-5, 18th tee-box, and had convinced himself all he needed to do was make a hole-in-one to break 100 for the round.
Stay tuned for exciting Back Nine updates as they occur.
NOTE: The preceding opinions belong to Richard and are not necessarily shared by this newspaper … but they should be.
Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com.