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Interview With Vern Lundquist of CBS Sports

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Congressional Country Club
Bethesda, MD
July 5, 2008

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, your love of sports has been very well-documented.


QUESTION: Where does golf fit into the pantheon?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, golf is a new passion. I started golfing about – well, it’ll be three years in August that I’ve been golfing. And I have to say nothing’s captured my imagination like this. I was a competitive figure skater as a kid, and then a tennis player for many years. But golf is now starting to take that space that tennis once had.

QUESTION: Now there’s a small rumor that you were able to play a little bit yesterday?

SECRETARY RICE: I played a little bit yesterday, got out for a little while yesterday morning. I had my family in town, my cousin and her husband and a couple of friends for the Fourth. And so we went out and hit a few.

QUESTION: Rather than have Peter Costas analyze your playing --


QUESTION: -- we’ll just give you a chance to – what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I’ve always been good off the tee. From the very first time I played golf, I loved the driver. And my struggle – and I love putting, love putting. So my struggle is everything in between and -- (laughter) – I’m trying to get better at the short game. That’s really my summer goal, is to get just a little bit better at chipping so that I can have a little shorter putt.

QUESTION: Do you want to share with us your handicap, or just kind of let it go?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I finally established my handicap.


SECRETARY RICE: Now remember, it’s only been three years. I travel all the time. I don’t get to play very much. But it’s about – I’m told it’s about 21, and then at my home club, it’s a little higher because my home club is a very up-and-down club, so --

QUESTION: That’s very admirable, by the way. It really seems relevant that on this particular weekend, which is so meaningful to our country, that we have this tournament here and honoring four different branches of the military. Today, it’s the Marines.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, absolutely.

QUESTION: Do you find yourself in a reflective mood at all?

SECRETARY RICE: Absolutely. These men and women in uniform are, first of all, the nation’s best, and they’re volunteers. We forget that they volunteer to defend us and to defend freedom. And what’s so great is that when the tournament honors our men and women in uniform, whether it was the Wounded Warriors events that they did a couple of days ago or the Marines today – and Tiger Woods has made this one of the hallmarks of this tournament – it’s really terrific, because we just have to remember they’re sacrificing and they’re sacrificing for us.

QUESTION: One final question. I think that you were on the faculty at Stanford --

SECRETARY RICE: That’s right.

QUESTION: -- when Tiger was a student there.

SECRETARY RICE: I was. That’s right.

QUESTION: Did you have a relationship or a friendship with him back then?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I met Tiger a couple of times and, in fact, we both remember that the last time we saw each other at Stanford was in the year 2000, and he was back. We were at a basketball game, the Pete Newell Classic. Stanford played Duke. Duke was ranked number one. And Stanford hit a buzzer-beater, three-pointer at the buzzer, and Tiger and I rushed the court. So that’s our common experience.

QUESTION: There are pictures, I would assume?

SECRETARY RICE: I am afraid there are. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Thank you so much for being with us today.

SECRETARY RICE: It’s a real pleasure to be with you.

QUESTION: Thank you.



Released on July 6, 2008

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