Sunday, January 11

Presidents Golf Championship: Quarterfinals Preview

Bill Clinton is a heavy underdog.

EIGHT PRESIDENTS ARE STILL ALIVE in the first annual Presidents Golf Championship (PGC) at Augusta National Golf Club. Guest golf analyst Don Van Natta filed the following preview of the upcoming matches.


EAGLE BRACKET


#1 Kennedy vs. #8 Obama
This is the Charisma Quarter-Final. No president looked as cool and comfortable on the links as JFK. Obama, despite his odd choice of cargo pants while playing during his Hawaii vacation, is a very close second. Both Kennedy and Obama rely on jocular attempts to unnerve opponents. JFK loves needling his playing partners as a way to intimidate them to play worse; Obama also engages in a bit of playful trash-talking. But the similarities between their golfing styles end there. Kennedy’s deadly accurate game will overwhelm Obama, whose wobbly long irons will spoil any chance for the pre-inaugural upset.
Prediction: Kennedy

#5 George H.W. Bush vs. #13 Nixon

Nixon’s stunning upset of FDR — and his supreme confidence, afterward — will carry him past George Herbert Walker Bush. At Bush’s best, he is capable of shooting in the high 80s, but he has a tendency to get rattled by cocky opponents who he should defeat. The pressure will be on “41” not just to beat Nixon but to crush him. But I predict that Nixon’s way of glowering at an opponent (especially during short putts) will unnerve Bush just enough for the darkest of presidential golf dark horses to take another unlikely step toward the final.
Prediction: Nixon

FREEDOM BRACKET


#2 Eisenhower vs. #7 Clinton

This one will be fun, if only because it will be interesting to see if Clinton’s carefree, on-course demeanor disrupts the old general’s equilibrium. Ike’s deadly serious game (he concentrates laser-like on getting the ball to behave) is so different from Clinton’s chatty, Billigans-enhanced style. Of course, no Billigan-taking is permitted in the PGC, and I would be stunned if Clinton manages to topple the mighty Ike, even if Ike’s putter doesn’t always cooperate.
Prediction: Eisenhower

#3 Ford vs. #6 George W. Bush
With their close seedings, you’d think this match could go down to the wire. Think again. Ford is a formidable No. 3 seed, and Bush is a shaky No. 6 seed. Despite his reputation for hitting spectators with golf balls, Ford has a disciplined, razor-sharp approach to shot-making. Bush’s habit of taking unnecessary risks will do him in. This one won’t be close.
Prediction: Ford

Results on Tuesday

Come back on Tuesday for the results of these matches and the march toward the final, which will be played the day before Inauguration Day.

Win an Autographed Copy of First Off the Tee!

Sign up for a chance to win a free autographed copy of Don Van Natta’s First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers and Cheaters from Taft to Bush, a New York Times bestseller and Sports Illustrated book of the year. Entry is at right under the brown box.

−The Armchair Golfer


Related:
Nixon Upset Highlights Opening PGC Matches
The Goods on Barak Obama's Golf Game
Ulysses S. Grant Earns Final Spot in PGC Field
Presidents Golf Championship Adds Golf Analyst

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