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Editors Column

Michigan Golfer is pleased to publish excerpts of an interview with Senator Jay Bulworth, irreverent star of the satirical movie of the same name. For those unfamiliar with the movie's plot, it's about a senator (played by Warren Beatty) who has a breakdown of sorts and commences to spew "unspeakable truths" (often using rap lyrics) on the campaign trail. Warning: readers foreign to this movie may find this column injurious to their golf sensibility.

MG: Sen. Bulworth, thank you for joining us.

Sen. Bulworth: Well, I didn't have much choice, did I? My campaign advisors tell me the "golfer demo" is rising on par with the "soccer mom" phenomenon as a key voter segment. So here I am. Hell, I don't play golf anymore_it's too damn expensive and too slow.

MG: But you must admit, it's a wonderful game with a great tradition and it's good exercise.

Sen. Bulworth: Great tradition? Surely, you're speaking of how one of the game's ruling bodies once outlawed blacks from becoming golf professionals and made certain of it by placing it in its by-laws. Or are you referring to how golf has been the tremendous "social leveler" over the years? Weren't most early golf professionals treated like "untouchables" by the monied class at country clubs? Or are you referring to more recent "traditions" such as the PGA Tour not allowing a bona fide handicapped person some reasonable accommodation to pursue his livelihood?

MG: OK, but when you played golf you must've loved being outdoors and the beauty of nature?

Sen. Bulworth: Beauty of nature? You mean, riding a mandatory cart on over-watered and over-manicured turf that's ridiculously costly to maintain. Now at least in Ireland and Britain, they're not afraid to allow the turf to be naturally brown_which I understand is far more healthy for the turf anyway. But to rap: it's obscene not to be really green.

MG: Now you're not saying golf is bad for the environment, are you?

Sen. Bulworth: Of course not, the golf lobby is well-positioned around Congress. And that superintendent association of yours sure knew how to counter-attack the tree-huggers when it came to environmental concerns. But let's face it, there's too many lobbyists and legislators playing golf for fun and business for any bill to ever come up harmful to golf. It all boils down to this: there's a lot of money and power around golf. My late friend, Sen. Huey Long Jr., chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, once defended the two martini lunch deduction as saying, "business lunches are the fertilizers of capitalism." To rap: golf is one potent potash for deal, McNeil.

MG: All right, but what's really bothering you, Senator?

Sen. Bulworth: Well, I'm wondering why even the death of a nice club pro who finally realized his dream by winning the Senior Players Championship last year hasn't jolted the golf scene about the hypocrisy of cigar smoking.

MG: Are you referring to Larry Gilbert?

Sen. Bulworth: Yes, the late defending champion of your Dearborn, Ford-sponsored event. Poor Larry -- he gave up cigar smoking only when he discovered his lung cancer was inoperable -- Gotta give the cigar industry an A plus for this marketing miracle. In a time when most cigarette smokers are social outcasts -- and considering the effects of secondary smoke for valid reasons, too -- all of sudden in a span of a few years cigar smoking around golf is now chic and the "in" thing to do.

MG: Surely, as a liberal-minded Senator, you're not advocating banning cigar-smoking on golf courses?

Sen. Bulworth: Considering the state of priorities -- violence in schools, child care, drug abuse, out of wedlock birthrates -- I wouldn't place it high on the legislative agenda. But I thought golfers were smart. Instead, they're obviously the lemmings of a well-constructed marketing and public relations campaign by the cigar industry. Hey, it's just Joe Camel dressed in 100% cotton, playing titanium, and reading Cigar Magazine with Demi Moore on the cover --

MG: Short of strict California-like measures, are there any other steps you espouse.

Sen. Bulworth: How about clubs and shops just stop selling cigars? Is generating a few extra bucks for an over-priced, foul-smelling tobacco product really jive with our public health commonsense? The last report from the National Cancer Institute in April said this: "Cigars are not safe alternatives to cigarettes and may be addictive." And sadly, cigar smoking is on the rise since 1993 after a 20-year decline. To rap: ignore the stats/bury your dead/make money instead/it's a free nation/consumer celebration/don't give a hoot/sell the cheroot--

MG: Anything else, Senator?

Sen. Bulworth:Did you say golf was going spikeless or spineless?

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